In the summer of 2020, Tracey and Jeffrey Kilgour took a gulp-worthy leap of faith – they bought a business in the middle of a pandemic. That business was Martin’s Framing in Bracebridge, which provides on-site custom framing services.
While Martin’s Framing had a long-standing history in the Muskoka arts and craft scene, it lagged behind in its use of digital technology. The Kilgours turned to Digital Main Street (DMS) to develop a more robust online presence that would help them to grow the core framing business, as well as their secondary businesses in art supplies and consignment art.
The Kilgours have used their DMS Digital Transformation Grant to expand their social media presence, optimize search engine results, invest in Google Ads and revamp the website with a new e-commerce storefront. Their plan is to grow e-commerce sales to at least 15 per cent of revenue. The Kilgours have invested in a new point of sale (POS) and project management system that could streamline operations enough to grow revenue by 20 per cent without adding additional staff.
“DMS meshed very well with what we felt would give us the biggest bang for our limited resources,” said Jeffrey. “The fact that there was grant money to help us launch gave us the confidence to move ahead, probably faster than we would have otherwise. A few months later, we are moments away from going live with our new website.”
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