The Bridge Social is a neighbourhood organic cafe and clean body-care store in Uxbridge that launched only months before the pandemic struck. It features a variety of organic and premium coffees and loose-leaf teas, items from local artisans, delicious treats and eco-friendly care products.
As the owners of a new business still working out the kinks, Rebecca Harman and Julia McDonald hadn’t yet put a lot of effort into the café’s website. But they soon recognized they needed to make it a priority.
Rave reviews from other business owners led Rebecca and Julia to apply to Digital Main Street. With their Digital Transformation Grant, the help of their local Digital Service Squad and the free training available from DMS, Rebecca and Julia got to work to create a website with a Shopify e-commerce storefront practically from scratch.
This online presence has proven critical to supplement the brick-and-mortar location as the pandemic has dragged on. It has also provided their team with more flexibility to manage work and family as kids are schooled from home.
“DMS saved our business and opened up so many opportunities we wouldn’t have had before to help keep our doors open,” Rebecca said. “With our Shopify website, we have been able to reduce staff time in store, capitalize on online shopping and create more accessible experiences for our customers. The DMS grant allows small businesses to be proactive with change and become part of the mainstream with other big box stores.”
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