Down to Earth in Lindsay may be all about the great outdoors, but the team was very much committed to the in-store experience when it came to retailing its bicycles and adventure gear.
In business for 20 years, Down to Earth had been slow to adapt to the e-commerce world, but owner Sandra Patrick saw the value of broadening her business’s digital footprint. She qualified for a Digital Transformation Grant in the first phase of Digital Main Street’s Ontario-wide rollout. While no one knew it then, the timing could not have been better, given that the pandemic would strike only months later.
Sandra’s crew worked with their local DMS Digital Service Squad to overhaul Down to Earth’s website, engage with a consultant to improve the business’s online search rankings, and engage in a structured online advertising and social media campaign.
While the initial goal had been to boost sales during the off-season, these improvements to Down to Earth’s digital presence have proved invaluable with the pandemic.
“Digital Main Street is a unique opportunity for small businesses like ours to be more confident when venturing online to find new customers – especially in times like this when we simply can’t afford to take risks that don’t pay off,” Sandra said. “Paired with the tutorials on social media and ways to increase our online presence, the grant has enabled us to learn how best to use the online platforms available to our business.”
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