Jennifer McNutt Bywater and her family operate one of those eclectic businesses that’s a bit hard to pin down. Vested Interest Trading in Callander carries a variety of art, furniture, clothing, home furnishings, body products and food items, all from other local businesses as well as imported from artisan families around the world.
What ties it all together? The Bywaters’ emphasis on supporting local communities, Fair Trade and sustainable practices. They take pride in loyal customers and word-of-mouth recommendations. But the pandemic stressed the need to supplement this goodwill with an e-commerce storefront and improved SEO so that potential customers anywhere could find the business online.
The Bywaters turned to Digital Main Street (DMS), with its digital transformation grants and other educational and professional resources. They are now launching their first online storefront, powered by Shopify, improving the visual appeal of their website and boosting its search engine rankings.
“DMS has really helped us to capture our store and bring it online to share with others,” Jennifer said. “We have so much to offer and getting online with the help of DMS has made the process that much smoother and easier! As a small, family-run local business, we appreciate the support of DMS in such difficult times, to help us keep our goals and values at the forefront and continue to connect with customers.”
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