Alyshia Bestard left a career in corporate marketing and e-commerce to launch Kitchener’s Queen of Hearts Tea House & Gifts in September of 2019. She wanted to pursue her passion for the experience of afternoon tea, with a nod to her love of a good card game.

Her corporate background soon proved its value after the pandemic struck months later. Still, challenges remained. Alyshia realized how vital it is to build and maintain a strong online presence to attract and retain customers, particularly through the unpredictable disruptions of the pandemic.

Thanks to an audit by her local Digital Main Street (DMS) Digital Service Squad, led by the City of Kitchener and the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre, Alyshia quickly identified her weak spots online. With the help of a $2,500 DMS Digital Transformation Grant, she set about to strengthen her channels. This includes building a bigger library of content to post online and learning how digital presence through her website and her social media to use third-party automation tools that cut the time she must spend on preparing and posting new content.

“You just can’t stay in business today without a strong online presence that is current and engaging,” Alyshia said. “The first thing most people are going to do is check you out online. So, you have to constantly be filling the funnel with fresh content. This is absolutely critical. It’s a big help if you can get support through a program like DMS.”

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