Boo Bah Lou Candy Corner and Sugar Bush Canadian Coffee are hard at work satisfying sweet tooths on Manitoulin. The two businesses are the livelihood and passion of owner Sandi and David Hurcomb, who run the two storefronts in picturesque Kagawong.
The tourist trade on Manitoulin was a big business driver for the Hurcombs, but the pandemic put a temporary halt on steady walk-in business. Astute business owners, Sandi and David turned to Digital Main Street (DMS) to help them take advantage of the opportunity to promote their businesses online and improve some of their back-end functions. Their goal was lofty: to increase all sales by 20% over last year and do it by investing in streamlined processes, e-commerce, videos, technology and social media.
Their Digital Transformation Grant from DMS funded most of their plans and has set them up for ongoing success, even after the pandemic is over. “This Main Street grant has helped us get out on social media and spread the word. We also used a portion of the grant to update our technology to help us improve our social media planning, online banking, ordering and staff scheduling,” said the Hurcombs. “We also added in-person training and coaching to the mix so we’re ready for this summer. This grant has made such a difference and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
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