Digital Main Street is Back

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!!!

Refer to this link for more information. https://tinyurl.com/y54wmf5l

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Wingham is BOOMING!!

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.

LET’S KEEP IT GOING!!

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Back In Business Promo Winner

Aileen Brebner is the winner of the July 30 draw in Wingham’s Back in Business Promo. Congratulations, Aileen!! Aileen wins $250 worth of BIA Dollars that can be used at local businesses.

There will be another draw on Aug. 30 for $250 of BIA Dollars with the final draw taking place on Sept. 12 for over $2,500 worth of gift certificates. See previous post on this page for more details about the Back in Business summer promo.

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Back In Business Promo

Wingham’s Back In Business promo begins July 13. Participating businesses will have passports available, listing all the businesses in the promo. A purchase at any of these locations will earn the shopper a sticker. Once the passport is filled, simply drop it off at a business listed below to be entered in the draws. Prizes of $250 worth of BIA Dollars will be given on July 30 and August 20 with the grand prize of $2,550 in gift certificates being drawn on September 12. The Promo subcommittee of the Wingham BIA is ecstatic to say there are 52 Wingham businesses taking part in this event to show that Wingham is BACK IN BUSINESS!!

Participating Business Are:
Annette’s Treasures GaloreMoments Spa & Footcare Studio
Bilbo BonginsMontgomery’s Comfort Centre
Brophy TirePandora’s Pantry Natural Food Store
C Detailing & MorePharmasave
Chameleon’sR.J. Burnside & Associates
Christine’s Clothes ClosetRe/Max Land Exchange Ltd Brokerage
Dave Tiffin – Freedom 55 FinancialRed Apple
Dejardins InsuranceRiegling Accounting
Diamond Steel RoofingRintoul’s Pools & Spas
Finishing TouchesRiverview Drive-In Restaurant
Foxton FuelsRona Hodgins Lumber
Frosty Queen & Frosty’s Pita PlaceStainton’s Home Hardware
Great China House RestaurantStapleton Interiors
Healthy ComputersSweets N’ Treats
House of BloomTD Canada
Howick Mutual Insurance CompanyThe 2 Step
Huron County DesignsThe Co-operators
HurontelThe Family Tree
Jewelz’ DesignzThe Gift Chest
K. G. Electronics ApplianceThe Workshop
Leslie Ford MotorsValu-Mart
Libro Credit UnionWingham Foodland
Lone Wolf AntiquesWingham Optometry Clinic
Lynn Hoy EnterprisesWingham Super Storage
Marks Brothers Auto BodyWingham BIA
McBurney Funeral Home
MicroAge Basics
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Summer Promo Information

Individually, we are but one drop. Together, we are an ocean.

“Wingham, Back in Business”

It’s time for a Wingham Business Promotion!                  
The information below was taken from a letter that has gone out to businesses of the Wingham BIA. We thought it would be of interest to the general public to see what the BIA is working on for the business community and our shoppers.   Business response to this has been extremely positive to date!!                                

Objective
We are writing this letter in regards to an upcoming promotional event for the Wingham business community, scheduled to run from Monday July 13 to Saturday September 12.  With this letter we would like to assess merchant interest and get an idea on the number of businesses that would like to participate.

Program Outline

  • The program will run similar to the Dig Our Downtown promotion that was held in 2011.
  • Participating customers will acquire a passport from a participating business location.
  • With every purchase made from a participating business location, the customer will receive a stamp on their passport.
  • Once the passport is full of stamps, the customer will drop the passport off at a participating business location to be entered into the grand prize draw.
  • Customer can then start a new passport.

Investment
Promotional investment of $200.00 plus tax will get you:

9 weeks of promotion, Great value!

  • Approximately 32 name mentions on the radio.
  • Have your business name listed on the BIA website which will explain the program.
  • Window posters to show participating business locations.
  • BIA Facebook promo.
  • Your business listed on passport.
  • Standard social Media advertisement that all participating businesses can post on their businesses social network, including the program details and all participating businesses.

Also each business will donate a $50.00 (minimum value) gift certificate to be pooled together with all participating businesses equaling our grand prize.

THE MAGIC OF EVERYONE WORKING TOGETHER

We will run a series of 30 second commercials using 9 seconds on promoting the program and the other 21 seconds for 3 supporting business names (business names will rotate with each commercial).

CKNX Radio will support this program in the same way it did for the Dig Our Downtown program in 2011 which was dollar for dollar.

ie: 100 businesses with a $200.00 investment = $20,000. CKNX will match this equaling $40,000 equating to 1052 commercials over a 9-week timeline.

Your BIA Promotional Committee:

Bill George – Bilbo Bongins 905-226-0420

Alicia Deitner – The 2 Step 357-1840

Gary Ballagh – CKNX Radio 357-6263

Bruce Stainton – Stainton Home Hardware 357-2910

“PROGRESS IS WHEN EVERYONE PUSHES IN THE SAME DIRECTION”

Radio can reach beyond the town to draw consumers to your business

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Reopening Status Updates

As the province starts to reopen from the Covid shutdown, we’ve asked our members to provide us with their current status and/or reopening plans. Their information can be found through their entry on the Business Directory of this website. Any who have updated their status will have information under the title “Covid Update” found under the “Show More Info” section of their entry. You can see specific business information by going to Find a Business on the websites main menu and using the search filters to locate your business of interest. Stay safe.

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Covid-19 Business Status List – Updated Apr. 24

As our community strives to overcome the threats of the Covid-19 virus, the status of many businesses are important to our consumers, as well as the survival of the businesses themselves. We asked the Wingham BIA membership, through an email request, to forward us their current status so we could post it online for the aid of customers. We were posting this on Facebook, but it became too difficult to read, so we’ve uploaded a PDF document to this site which you can open to view. This will list the businesses, in alphabetical order, on which we have current information and will be updated as we receive more information. Please support our local businesses where possible during this difficult time. Stay safe for yourself and others. Last update – April 30, 2020, 4:30 pm.

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BIA Annual General Meeting Update

                The Wingham Business Improvement Area (BIA) held their Annual General Meeting on Thursday, February 20, 2020 at the Knights Lounge of the North Huron Wescast Community Complex.  Approximately 22 people were in attendance, most with voting privileges. 

                Chairman Doug Kuyvenhoven welcomed everyone and started the meeting off with a review of 2019 accomplishments.  Several pictures were shown of volunteers beautifying Josephine Street businesses by painting and weed maintenance.  The Town Hall Theatre, after an opening event in the spring, saw several performances the rest of the year.  Although not a direct project of the BIA, it has the BIA’s full support with the expectation of drawing people to Wingham and local businesses.  The Chair also explained that the BIA supports the Santa Claus Parade and the Firemen Fireworks by paying the insurance costs, pays for a marching band for the parade and puts a float in the parade.  The Vision and Mission statements of the Wingham BIA were also reviewed.  Kuyvenhoven also mentioned two goals are to brand Wingham for music and to become a leader in accessibility.  The minutes of the 2019 AGM were read and approved.

                Treasurer, Jason Schiestel, presented the 2019 financial statements. There were a few questions and explanations relating to the financials, but nothing serious was brought to attention.  Schiestel also presented the proposed 2020 budget.  After some discussion around advertising and a proposed LED sign project the budget was passed by a 17-1 margin.  Dave Tiffin gave a brief summary of the Digital Main Street initiative.  This was a program by the Ontario government and the Ontario BIA Association whereby small businesses could apply for a $2,500 grant towards increasing their online presence.  Although the grant application period has expired, the training videos and information area are available at www.digitalmainstreet.ca.

                Lisa Hearnden and Dave Tiffin presented awards to several businesses and volunteers.  Terry & Sandy Walker were named Volunteers of the Year for all their volunteer hours with the BIA Curb Appeal and work on the Town Hall Theatre.  New businesses in 2019 are Lone Wolf Antiques, Huron County Designs (winner of the In It To Win It contest), Thaiville restaurant, Reeny’s restaurant.  Christine McGrath of Christine’s Clothes Closet was given the Business of the Year Award.  Christine has had her store for 30 years and has run countless fashion shows that generated funds local causes.  Congratulations, Christine!!

                The current Board members are all returning, but there was one opening due to a departure earlier in the year.  Ryan Fergusson of Co-operators was the only name on the ballot for that opening and there were no nominations from the floor.  A ballot vote was still held with 17 in favour of Ryan and one abstention.

                The floor was open for further comments or questions.  There was very little input except for a comment regarding the good work of the Curb Appeal that does the painting and weeding.  The meeting was adjourned and a social time followed with light snacks and bar provided by the Knights of Columbus.

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BIA Annual General Meeting – Feb. 20

   The Wingham BIA Annual General Meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 20 at 7:00 p.m. in the Knights Lounge of the North Huron Wescast Complex.  All BIA members and Associate members are encouraged to attend.  These meetings are not usually too long, but review accomplishments and financial statements of the previous year as well as preview goals for 2020 and approve the new budget.  Light snacks will be available and a cash bar, operated by the Knights of Columbus, will be open after the meeting. 

     Click this link to find the agenda for 2020 AGM, proposed budget and financial statements. https://winghambia.ca/annual-general-meeting/

     The role of the BIA is to promote the Wingham business community.  While we do not promote individual businesses, we will acknowledge new businesses or special anniversaries.  The BIA also supports various community events such as the annual Santa Claus parade, the Firemen July 1st fireworks display, the Festival of Lanterns and the Musical Muskrat Festival.  Other areas, not necessarily all, the BIA is involved in either directly or indirectly are:

  • Cruickshank Park Christmas lights
  • Handrails at the Cenotaph
  • Funding a band for the Santa Claus parade
  • Curb Appeal – beautification of the business core by painting and weeding
  • Community Cash program that keeps dollars being spent in Wingham
  • The first In It To Win It contest that was held in 2019
  • Proposed LED sign at Tim Hortons corner to promote town events
  • Christmas music along Josephine Street in season
  • Christmas star lights for the streetlight posts
  • Sandwich boards for business
  • Sandwich board toppers to promote various town events
  • Streetlight banners
  • Across street banners
  • Digital Main Street initiative of 2019
  • Community Improvement Plan grant promotion
  • Flower baskets
  • Canada flags
  • Branding Wingham for music
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Year End Update

This isn’t meant to cover everything that happened in the past year, but as we end the decade a short review of some recent changes and happenings in Wingham.

                There continues to be a shortage of workers in the area.  Wescast, Britespan and down the road, Gaylea in Teeswater, have all been vocal in the difficulty in finding workers locally.  This is compounded by the fact that there’s a shortage of homes to purchase and rental properties in the area for workers who would relocate to our area.  Wescast currently has approximately a dozen workers who have migrated from Pakistan.  If you see these fellows out and about, make them feel welcome as it’s a big transition for them.  Not only are the industries having issues finding employees, but several small businesses are in the same boat. 

                On the housing side, North Huron Council is taking steps to try to get some development moving.  The Hutton Heights property south of Wingham has begun environmental studies with the intention of a housing development on the property.  Also, the A2A property at the East end of Charles Street has some new leadership in their development plans.  Although, not shortterm solutions, the long term is looking strong.  Real estate sales for established housing seem to be moving extremely quickly with homes for sale on the market for only a short time. 

                Josephine Street has seen some new business activity.  I won’t mention names here for fear of missing someone, but a successful “In It To Win It” contest was run which has resulted in a new business opening.  Two new developments at the south end of town have had the population speculating for several months now.  Regardless of the businesses that will operate out of them, they’re adding to tax base, which is never a bad thing.

                This year saw the end of the Wingham Police force, which had significant input for going to OPP, both pro and con.  The jury is still out on this one, but to date, there’s been a solid OPP police presence in town.  Another item which has the population opinion split is the future of the Howson Dam.  Years of truck traffic took a big toll on the structure and motor traffic across it was eliminated several years ago.  However, as the concrete continues to crumble there’s a debate on the viability of repairing or replacing the dam to recreate the pond area that used to see activity for boating and water skiing.  Having the dam in place not only affects Wingham, but may have effects on farmland upriver.  One more item currently getting input is the possibility of moving the Museum from the old post office on Josephine Street to the former train station.  A Committee of Council has been established to look into this as well as one to look into the dam options.

                Wingham remains a strong, vibrant town with something for everyone.  Minor sports thrive, there’s a wide variety of athletic and fitness options for people to be involved in and several volunteer groups looking for assistance.  The Wingham Community Connectors, established through the Alice Munro Library, will be hosting a volunteer fair in April of 2020 where groups can show what they’re all about and hopefully attract new members.  The Farmer’s Market continues in the summer months, along with the Musical Muskrat Festival and Silver Stick hockey tournaments annually.  The Wingham Golf and Curling Club is going strong, thanks to strong volunteer support and is hosting 3 high level bonspiels from November 2019 through to spring of 2020 which bring many people from out of the area.  Another venue bringing people to town is the renovated Town Hall Theatre.  The theatre saw a larger than expected number of events in 2019 and already has multiple bookings for 2020.

                As we head into the new year we wish you all the very best for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2020.

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