Gorgeous and unique flower arrangements, delicious chocolates, beautiful and hard to find giftware – Bloomers and the Brownhouse Chocolates has been bringing something sweet and special to Thunder Bay for 13 years. Owner Margaret Phirbny turned a stately period home into a true destination shop that drew plenty of foot traffic.
All that came to an end when the pandemic struck. Margaret realized she had to look at alternative ways to remain a viable business. She applied for and received a Digital Transformation Grant from Digital Main Street (DMS) and took advantage of its free help and resources to bolster her online presence and e-commerce storefront.
Margaret has hired a social media expert and is using video to build her presence through Facebook and Instagram – she has found that more Instagram followers leads to more sales. A new POS system to better manage inventory and a fresh promotional campaign through an e-mailing list are also part of her plan.
“The pandemic has changed the landscape of retail businesses around the world,” Margaret said. “DMS is helping us build our virtual presence and purchase some much-needed equipment to showcase our products in a professional manner. We are looking forward to continuing with our digital growth. Thank you, Digital Main Street, for the opportunity.”
The Digital Main Street program has been further extended through funding from FedDev Ontario and the Ontario Ministry for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT). The new round of funding includes $42.5 million from the Government of Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, a national recovery initiative delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies. With $7.45 million from Ontario, this combined federal and provincial project will strengthen Ontario’s economic capacity for innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration, and will promote the development of a strong and diversified Ontario economy. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca/ontariogrants