Michelle VandenBosch and Gary Parker lead a team of talented and passionate florists at Rebel Petal. This unique floral design studio is located in the picturesque village of Manotick within the City of Ottawa.
A 2,400-square-foot showroom features bushels of “floral gorgeousness,” with cool designs, stunning flowers and giftware. Or at least it did before the pandemic struck. Michelle and Gary made the decision to keep the showroom closed throughout the pandemic for the safety of their team and their patrons. Instead, they rely on deliveries, curb-side pickup and an e-commerce storefront powered by Shopify.
But the switch to an entirely online business did reveal some areas in need of improvement. Michelle and Gary learned about Digital Main Street (DMS) through their local BIA and applied for grant funding and the professional support to help them make a bigger splash online.
The DMS team helped them develop and implement a Digital Transformation Plan, to draw more clicks to their online storefront. This included a social media content plan with weekly and monthly themes, a digital advertising campaign, new video and photography, a monthly newsletter, website enhancements and search engine marketing (SEM).
Their goal is to generate more sales from featured products and increase engagement from social media posts.
“DMS came at a great time when we wanted to improve our website and social media,” Michelle said. “These improvements are helping us weather the pandemic as we can direct our attention to other issues rather than building a new website from scratch.”
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