It is with great gratitude that the Township of North Huron is proud to share in the announcement of the Leland and Thora Vance Fund. Leland and Thora Vance were long-time residents of Wingham. Up until their retirement, they owned Vance’s Pharmacy for over 40 years and their dedication to those in need lives on through countless stories of Leland and Thora making themselves available after business hours on nights and weekends to help those in need of medication, advice, and support. Leland and Thora genuinely cared about the people in our community. They both cared so much that they wanted to continue to ensure that the community’s residents were supported even after their lifetime. To do so, Leland and Thora created an endowment fund with Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) to give back to the community that they loved so much. The fund in the amount of approximately seven million dollars is invested and each year the income on the fund will be distributed to support residents of Wingham and provide annual assistance to organizations and community groups in the areas of education, healthcare, recreation and Christian churches. First distributions will be in 2022. Leland and Thora Vance chose to have a committee that included local leaders and KWCF representatives to make the distribution decisions.
The current committee includes the following or their designates: (1) Chair of the Wingham BIA – Dave Tiffin (2) Head of local government – Reeve Bernie Bailey (3) President of the Lion’s Club – Richard Hall (an organization that they both passionately supported during their lifetime) (4) President & CEO of Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation – Elizabeth Heald (5) a fifth representative to be determined While the committee has just been formed and is in the process of working out the details, at this time, the Township of North Huron would like to thank Leland and Thora Vance for their continuing positive impact on the community. Their legacy will live on forever in a community made stronger by their generosity.
Attention Huron County Business Owners! Huron County Economic Development has announced that today is the official launch of the county-wide Huron Business Retention & Expansion (BR&E) Surveying Project.
Surveys will be mailed to the business community starting today, and will continue through to the end of November 2021. Volunteers will reach out to businesses, via telephone, to provide assistance and support as needed.
Think of this as a business census – this is your chance to voice your needs and opinions directly to the County! The information collected in the BR&E surveying is vital for the County to continue making informed decisions, and help them take pro-active actions that will have positive and lasting benefits in our community.
Curious to learn more? Contact Cole Nicholson, Huron County BR&E Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 519-525-7315.
At the Annual General Meeting on Feb. 18, 2021 Ally Sieber-Peyton was elected to the Wingham BIA Board. Ally is a realtor with Re-Max in Wingham. At the March monthly Board meeting Ally stepped up to be the Retail Representative on the Board. We’ve created a subcommittee of 3 other retailers to assist Ally with promotions going forward. At this point the 3 retailers are Alicia Dietner of 2 Step Shoes, Bill George of Naturally Bongins and Christine McGrath of Christine’s Clothes Closet. These will be the only 4 people representing the Wingham BIA for promotional events.
The Board also passed a motion to draft a letter of support for moving the Museum from the original location across from the Town Hall to the former train station at the northern area of Josephine St. This letter is in principle at this time as there has not yet been a formal plan presented to Council.
Lastly the Board has been notified that as of April 1, meetings of North Huron committees will be allowed in person, with Covid protocols in place. As such, the BIA Board meetings will take place in the small Knights of Columbus Lounge the third Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. These meetings are open to the public, however seating is limited to 12 including the 7 Board members. Notice of meetings are listed in the Coming Events section of this website and an email is sent to the membership ahead of time. If you would like to attend a meeting email email@example.com prior to the day of the meeting so we know expected attendance and won’t go over the allotted number.
In a Zoom meeting March 9 with several Huron County BIAs, Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson reported that applications for the Small Business Support Grant can be submitted up to the end of March (provincial fiscal year end). Information regarding the grant can be found at https://tinyurl.com/2b9k83ka.
This Provincial grant may provide up to $20,000 for eligible businesses impacted by the provincewide shutdown. Minister Thompson reported that to date, during the pandemic, approximately 89,500 businesses have received support totalling $1.28 billion dollars.
If you have questions about the grant after viewing the website you can contact Minister Thompson’s office or discuss with your business accountant.
With the Covid restrictions in place, the BIA AGM was forced online on Feb. 25. Chair Dave Tiffin called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. After reviewing protocols due to being online the Chair reviewed the minutes of the 2020 AGM. These minutes were approved as presented. The Chair then read a review of 2020 noting that Wingham’s assistance to businesses through hand sanitizer stands, plexiglass shields, floor dots and signage were duplicated by other BIAs in the area. Considering the restrictions, Wingham still saw business growth with several new businesses opening their doors.
Jason Schiestel, who is stepping down as Treasurer, presented the financial statements for 2020. There were no questions from those in attendance and the statements were passed. Chair Tiffin then presented goals of the BIA for 2021 with continued support for businesses dealing with Covid. A major project for 2021 is the expected installation of an LED sign at the south of end town to promote events. Funds for this were passed at the 2020 AGM, but Covid restrictions postponed the installation. The complete 2020 review and 2021 goals can be viewed at the links below.
Treasurer Doug Kuyvenhoven then presented the budget for 2021. There were no questions from attendees and the budget passed unanimously. Trevor Seip, Council Representative on the BIA Board provided a Council update. This year the Board was looking to add one new member. Ryan Fergusson nominated Ally Sieber-Peyton who allowed her name to stand and was unanimously elected pending Council approval.
The BIA awards were announced by Lisa Hearnden. This year Ideal Supply received the award for Civic Improvement with their new building on Josephine St. Jason Schiestel received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his years of service on the Board as Treasurer. Lisa Hearnden was named Volunteer of the Year for her unwavering dedication to BIA work including the Festival of Lanterns and this years “parade of the gnomes” along Josephine St. during the Christmas season. Lisa also sits on the Hospital Foundation Board. Recipients of the new business plaques went to Pizza Hut, Sacred Tree, BoHo Tide, Moments Spa, Naturally Bongins, Petro Canada gas bar, McDonalds and Esso. The meeting was adjourned at 7:38 p.m.
The Wingham Business Improvement Area (BIA) will hold its 2021 Annual General Meeting on Thursday, February 25 at 7:00 p.m. virtually via Zoom. Invitations are being mailed out to property and business owners. This meeting is open to the public but only property and business owners are allowed to vote on motions presented. There is one vote per owner regardless of number of properties or businesses in the Wingham BIA.
The Agenda, 2020 financial statements and the 2021 draft budget are available to be viewed or downloaded here below. Email firstname.lastname@example.org a link to the meeting. Attendees will be asked to type their first initial, last name and business name into their Zoom connection.
Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) 2.0 Effective immediately Community Futures Huron is accepting applications for a new round of RRRF interest-free business loans of up to $40,000!
The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) 2.0 is the second round of the funding program offered through FedDev Ontario and Community Futures Ontario to provide financial assistance to small and medium-sized businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and who are unable to access the Government of Canada’s existing relief measures.
Ontario Building On Supports for Employers During COVID-19 The Ontario government continues to provide a variety of supports to employers facing challenges as a result of COVID-19. The government will now be providing even more support to small businesses that are required to close or severely restrict their operations due to the necessary Provincewide Shutdown. This will help ensure they can continue serving their communities and employing people once COVID-19 has been eradicated. The New Ontario Small Business Support Grant – The government is announcing the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant, which will provide a minimum of $10,000 and up to $20,000 to help small business owners during this challenging period.
January 6 | “CRA – CEWS (Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) Info Session” January 7 | “How To Create Your Own Action Plan for Less Stress in 2021” January 12 | “CRA – CERS (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy) Info Session” January 12 | “Home Child Care Development Program – General Info & Onboarding #2” January 13 | “Business Basics: Operations” January 14 | “New Lenses: The Keys To Refreshing Your Personal Creativity” January 19 | “Dealing with Difficult People” January 20 | “Business Basics: Financial Management” January 21 | “Mindset: Inspired – How to Live & Work Happy in 2021” January 27 | “Business Basics: Pitching Your Business”
The 2020 Christmas spirit is already strong in Wingham. The BIA has Josephine St businesses decorated with Christmas gnomes this year. Thanks to Julie Miller of House Of Blooms for the idea and to Lisa Hearnden for organizing a work party to make them. Also a thanks to Dave Peers of Desjardins and Mac & Donna Anderson of Wingham Memorials for the greenery. In other Christmas items, Cruickshank Park had the lighting display turned on Friday, Nov. 13. The park looks great, as it has now for several Christmas seasons. Thank you to Tharon Riley and her elves for a great job. BIA Community Cash is also available for sale through Libro. You can purchase a book of ten $20 coupons for $180 – an immediate 10% savings. The coupons have no cash value, but can be used at any Wingham store just like cash. Business owners can redeem the coupons at Libro for their dollar amount. There is a dollar limit for individual purchases and another for corporate purchases (some give them to employees as gifts). Finally, in conjunction with the Huron County Economic Development, the Huron County Christmas Wish Book is now online!! Here’s a quote of their release email: “Finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list just got a lot easier thanks to the Huron County Wish Book. A nostalgic tribute to the eagerly anticipated annual Sears Wish Book, the Huron County Wish Book provides plenty of gift ideas from retailers and business across Huron County. Whether you’re looking for a handcrafted one-of-a-kind items or popular brand name items you’ll find lots of great gift giving ideas available right here in your backyard. Thank you to all of our great community partners who helped bring this project together – we couldn’t have done it without all of you!” Check out the links at: Website: http://www.ontarioswestcoast.ca/wishbook Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OntariosWestCoast/posts/3568723536484124
Stay safe this holiday season and remember “You can find it all in Wingham”.
Digital Main Street is a provincial initiative that will help small businesses increase their online presence. Online shopping was on the rise before Covid-19, but is becoming more the norm for people concerned about contacting the virus. If your business doesn’t have a good online presence, it will suffer.
Digital Main Street offers online training and personal assistance from Huron County’s Digital Service Squad (DSS). The Squad member who will be assisting Wingham BIA members is Lianne Pollard. Lianne was also on board in 2019 during the first Digital Main Street program.
Businesses can receive assistance from DSS, but can only apply for the $2,500 grant that is available once they’ve completed the online training. Businesses in the areas outlined in red in the image below are eligible for the assistance, but but may be restricted on grant application unless they are in the main business core along Josephine Street. However, even taking the training and receiving some personal assistance is a win!!!
Even with the restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the business community of Wingham is thriving. As is the case in every town in Canada, there have been extreme difficulties and casualties, but due to a tremendous amount of ingenuity, a re-working of businesses models and support from the community there has also been tremendous growth over the past several months. Larger employers like Wescast, Royal Homes and Britespan are in full production mode and even looking to hire.
The south end of Wingham has seen quite a change in recent weeks with the opening of the McDonald’s restaurant, Petro Canada gas station and the Neighbours convenience store, as well as the Esso gas station and Express Lane convenience. There will soon be a carwash opening as well. Along Josephine Street, Bilbo Bongins opened in the spring and just recently the Sacred Tree and Moments Spa have opened. BoHo Tide, a ladies clothing store is scheduled to open mid-Sept. Along with the new openings we’ve seen Lone Wolf antiques and Annette’s Treasures Galore – A Touch of Dutch and More move into a larger locations, as has Riegling Accounting who purchased the former BDO building. The Dance Factory has moved from Veteran’s Road into a newly renovated space on Josephine Street. Thaiville restaurant took advantage of the Community Improvement Program grant and updated the front of their restaurant.
As for what’s yet to come, there’s work continuing at the Pizza Hut location, the former Anchor Pub is undergoing renovations and the Middletons store has been sold. Construction of the new Ideal Supply location is also showing great progress.
The summer promotion – Wingham, Back in Business – has been a big success with the final draw to take place mid-Sept for a grand prize of $2,500 in local gift certificates. The promotion was organized by the Retail subcommittee of the Wingham BIA and had 52 businesses taking part.
Covid-19 has made it apparent that where there’s a will there’s a way and it’s great to see so much initiative in Wingham.