The team at Not Your Father’s Barber believe that a true barbershop service is more than just a nice haircut. It is about walking out with confidence and feeling awesome about your great new look…without paying $50 for it.

But Aaron Dahl, the owner of this sports-themed barber shop and café in the heart of Ottawa’s ByWard Market, knew he had to take his marketing up a notch. Pandemic shutdowns had taken their toll and he had to come out swinging.

He qualified for a Digital Transformation Grant from Digital Main Street (DMS) to help ensure his reopened business could operate as smoothly, and as safely, as possible.

With the help and support of the DMS team, Aaron embarked on a focused social media and online advertising effort, improved the functionality and usability of his website, and invested in new visuals. The added bonus is that the grant allowed him to bring new business to his next-door neighbour, Nexus Digital. He worked with the digital media agency on his website and his search engine optimization (SEO).

Aaron’s goal is to drive double-digit increases in online appointment bookings and social media followers as a result.

“The Digital Main Street grant was an integral part of our reopening plan,” he said. “Going forward, we will be able to monitor and track our progress to determine how much we want to invest in the future to grow our business. We are excited to see what the future holds!”




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


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