Update from Economic Development Officer

Hello to all Wingham members,

At the September 19th council meeting, the proposed parking by-law was sent back to North Huron staff with direction to get feedback from local businesses. Staff has decided to take the opportunity to include with some parking questions, a more in-depth Downtown Business Survey. We are aware some of you filled out a similar survey last year for the Huron County Business Retention & Expansion report, however we believe the economic environment has changed enough to warrant recollecting, updating and adding some further questions. We have also included a one-page economic development update as well as a Jobs Posting Analysis:

  1. Downtown Business Survey à will take 20-30 minutes to complete. Digital survey link here (https://forms.northhuron.ca/Downtown-Retail-Survey-Oct-2022), paper copy available as well attached to this email, can be sent to dmakrakos@northhuron.ca.
  2. Economic Development Update à community profile, grant funding opportunities, upcoming webinars & training. See the link below. 
  3. Job Postings Analysis à this report was presented to council at the Oct 3rd meeting, looking at the number and types of occupations posted in North Huron since 2018. See the link below. Businesses having trouble hiring might find this useful. A regional analysis expanding on this report is currently underway.

Should you want to discuss Josephine and Queen Street parking in more detail, North Huron staff welcomes businesses to join us at the Wingham Town Hall theatre on Wednesday October 26th between 8am to 9am. We’d ask that you email dmakrakos@northhuron.ca if you plan to join us so we have an idea of numbers.

Thanks,
Demetri Makrakos

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Municipal All Candidates Meeting

The Huron County Chamber of Commerce is hosting an All Candidates meeting for non-acclaimed candidates in the North Huron municipality.  This is for candidates for Reeve and Council. It does not include School Board candidates. It will be held Thursday, Sept. 29 beginning at 7:00 in the Wingham Town Hall Theatre.  Voters can submit questions to candidates ahead of time to info@huronchamber.ca

The official list of candidates can be viewed and downloaded at https://www.northhuron.ca/en/municipal-government/elections.aspx#Official-List-of-Certified-Candidates-and-Acclamations-to-Office

Candidates have 2 minutes to present their platform. After a break they will respond to written questions. Questions can be emailed ahead of time to Huron County Chamber as noted above, or written during the break and submitted to the Moderator.

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Sidewalk Sales

The summer sidewalk sales weekend was changed from July, as in previous years, to the Aug 4-6 weekend. Feedback has been very positive on the change. This year, the event also included many more activities. The Alice Munro Library ran a Kidz Zone with face painting and arts and crafts. There was a fundraiser with proceeds going to the Wingham and District Hospital and buskers displaying their talents. Lady Glaze Donuts were in town for Friday and Saturday serving up their unique donuts, coffees and delicious shakes.

On Saturday, Castings Public House hosted a parking lot party with live music, a dunk tank and live entertainment. Mary Cook was the winner of the business gift cards, which was the prize of the hospital fundraiser.

It was great to see some new ideas this year, and hopefully we can continue to grow this event into something larger. If you have some ideas or would like to help out with future events we are always open to constructive input. You can reach us directly by email at chair@wingham.ca.

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New Businesses

Welcome to new businesses in Wingham! In recent weeks we’ve seen new businesses open up in our main business core. Riverview Local Eatery has been open for several weeks now and is located in the former Riverview Drive-in Restaurant location at the north end of Josephine St. Pet Valu has opened at the south end of town in the new building beside McDonalds and the Petro Canada gas station. Cornerstone Pizza has opened in the former Bell’s Pizza location, but is still using the amazing Bell’s recipes for pizzas and subs. Noah’s Pizza is also opened and is in the former Godfather’s building. This is a second location for Noah’s, named after the owner’s son, with the other in Linwood.

Also, don’t forget that Homegrown Food Basket has relocated further north on Josephine to #239. The larger space can accommodate more produce from local suppliers.

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Community Improvement Plan Applications Available

The Community Improvement Plan (CIP) initiative for Wingham, Belgrave and Blyth main streets remains open for applications in 2022!

There is $40,000 in matching grants available to commercial building owners and retailers along the business cores for building, signage and other storefront improvements. Successful applicants can receive 50% assistance on a project to a maximum of $10,000.

Through North Huron’s Community Improvement Plan, two grant programs are offered annually – the Commercial Façade Improvement Grant Program and the Direct Grant for Structural Work Program.

Full information on the CIP can be found at https://tinyurl.com/2sxb26sz

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Waste Free Wednesday

On May 4 30 energetic volunteers came out to pick up litter throughout Wingham. In just two hours teams covered every street in town plus the community trail. A total of 50 bags of garbage was picked up. Each volunteer separated recyclable from non-recyclable waste as they picked up the garbage.
Tim Hortons donated coffee and timbits for the volunteers to enjoy in the train station at the conclusion of the event.
Organizer, Pete Mulvey, said he plans to run the event again in the fall making this a bi-annual event. In the attached photo, note the 2 pictures of a discarded shoe.

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LED Sign Installed

  Installation of the BIA’s LED sign at the Tim Hortons corner was completed Apr. 5. All going well the sign will be powered up on Wednesday and we will see various graphics displayed on the sign.

The BIA’s LED sign is meant to promote attractions and events in Wingham. (shows at the theatre, fireworks, BIA retail promotions, blood donor clinics, Wingham Community Trail, Alice Munro, etc)

At the last BIA board meeting, the board voted in favour of, for the first year, also featuring two BIA member businesses per week… for FREE. You can view this as yet another benefit of being a member of the Wingham BIA.

The sign will also be used to welcome new businesses opening in Wingham, and the 5th, 10th, 15th… etc business anniversaries of any BIA member business. If you have a business anniversary coming up be sure to let us know.

Special thanks go to:
Hodgins Rona for donating the sonotube and lumber for constructing the sign base
Township of North Huron Works Dept for their vacuum truck and time in coordinating bringing power to the sign from the MacDonalds corner across the road
Sepoy Wiring for much need assistance it getting power to the sign
Hurontel for donating a data SIM card for one year allowing us to remotely upload graphics to the sign
Ashley Vander Velden of Naturally Bongins for volunteering to create all the graphics that will be displayed on the sign.

The BIA is not selling advertising space on the LED sign at this time. Currently we will only be promoting Wingham events and Wingham attractions. 

Organizations wishing to promote their Wingham event on the BIA’s LED sign are to send an email to info@winghambia.ca with the text and images they wish have on the sign. The BIA board reserves the right to approve or deny any request.       Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. — Henry Ford
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BIA Board Recognizes Retiring Co-founder

At the 2022 Annual General Meeting of the Wingham BIA, Chair Dave Tiffin recognized the contributions of retiring board member Lisa Hearnden with the Lifetime Achievement certificate. Lisa was a founding member of the Wingham BIA and her contributions to the community have been huge over the years. Below is a letter she wrote the board and general membership.
Thank you, Lisa.
=============================

March 2022

Dear Wingham BIA Executive and General Membership:

From its inception, the Wingham BIA has demonstrated the truth of the statement “there is strength in numbers”.

We have worked, as a group, towards the common goals of strengthening Wingham as a town and making Wingham an attractive shopping and business destination for residents and non-residents alike.

The Wingham BIA’s ongoing support of non-retail events such as the Muskrat Festival, Festival of Lanterns, the Canada Day Fireworks and the Santa Claus Parade continues to strengthen our community as a whole.

I have been fortunate to work alongside a dedicated executive team, enthusiastic BIA members and many volunteers from the community who have all chosen to generously contribute their time to enrich our town.

Together we have accomplished so much. Some of the stand out achievements include: The Christmas Lights in Cruikshank Park; retail promotions that have attracted new and existing customers while at the same time donating back to the community; main street improvements that have included decorative snow flake street lights, the hand railing at the Cenotaph, Canadian flags, volunteer clean up, flower baskets, and Christmas greenery all of which enhance the appearance of our main street. None of these great initiatives would have been possible without the assistance of volunteers who believe in the spirit of Wingham. 

I am very proud to have been a part of the Wingham BIA since its inception and to have worked with all of you. I am honoured to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Sincerely,

Lisa Hearnden

Wingham BIA Chair, Dave Tiffin, presents retiring Board member Lisa Hearnden with the Lifetime Achievment certificate.

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Annual General Meeting – Feb. 17/22

The Wingham Business Improvement Area (BIA) held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday evening, Feb. 17. The meeting was held virtually due to Covid protocols currently in place. A small group responded to the invitation were were given the following updates:

Chairperson’s Report of 2021 BIA Activities

Chair Dave Tiffin gave a summary of 2021 to the attendees. 2021 was another up and down year for Wingham businesses due to lockdowns. We did see the return of the Santa Claus parade, which the BIA covers insurance for.  Thanks to the Lions Club for organizing. The Festival of Lanterns continued for the 8th consecutive year.  Mark McDougall and Lisa Hearnden continue to lead this event. Work is almost complete on the LED sign at the south end of town.  Hydro was run in the summer.  Delivery delays slowed installation, but everything is in order with expected completion by end of the month. The installation was passed at the 2020 AGM and we anticipate this being a significant help in making the public aware of events to draw people to the community. A list of allowed postings has been drafted.  This will be subject to periodic Board review. The BIA also wrote to North Huron Council and spoke at Council in support of converting the train station to a museum. We’re pleased to see this passed as we expect it to be a tourist draw to the area bringing people to our business community. Fundraising committee has been created.

Financials:

Treasurer Doug Kuyvenhoven presented the 2021 financials. There were no questions from the attendees. The 2022 budget was presented for approval. The BIA is expecting a return of spending support for the July 1st fireworks, and the Santa Claus parade. The Board will be looking into new streetlight banners highlighting Wingham’s strong musical history. The budget was passed unanimously.

2022 Goals:

We are hoping for and expecting the lifting of Covid restrictions.  Also hope to see the return of the July 1 fireworks, which the BIA sponsors and expect to be able to have the Christmas light in Cruickshank return as a community event in mid-November. Retail promotions similar to other years will be held, but we’re open to modifications. A tourist map project is in development.  This will provide visitors with overall view of the area, with sponsoring businesses highlighted.  Hoping to work with Blyth BIA, North Huron Ec Dev and Advance Times on this. We plan to work with theatre to bring live shows to Wingham.  We’ve seen that good performers will come to Wingham and we need to build on that to draw people to town and our business community. The BIA is looking into the next major project.  With the success of the snowflake lights and now the LED sign we’re considering new banners for streetlight. Although not a goal, the BIA Chair is part of the Vance Trust committee which will see initial disbursements in 2022.

The Board is only a small group of volunteers.  As such constructive input, and assistance, from the membership is always welcome.

Election of Board Members:

The BIA Board can consist of 4-8 business owners/employees, 2 of which can be Associate members. The Board had room for up to 3 new Board members. At the meeting Carolyn Young of Libro Credit Union and Ashley VanderVelden of Naturally Bongins were nominated and allowed their names to stand. With less than 4 nominees no election was necessary. The 2 nominees will need approval by North Huron Council, which is fully expected.

BIA Award Announcements

New Businesses: 

Teenie Tiny Tots
Sunnyside Grill
Castings Public House
Maitland Auctions
Mikaylo Home Furnighings & Decor

  • Civic Improvement: Murray Simpson – Castings Public House
  • Special Award – Green’s Meat Market.  This is hopefully a one time award.  Recognizing Green’s Meat Market for their resilience and determination to rebuild and reopen within a year of a devasting fire.  Congratulations to the Green family on all the hard work to accomplish this.
  • Lifetime Achievement – Lisa Hearnden
    • Lisa is an original Board member.  Over the years she has been incredibly valuable to the BIA.  Lisa, along with Mark McDougall have co-ordinated the Festival of Lanterns and she was the driving force behind the production and installation of the Christmas gnome theme along Josephine St.  She’s participated in many Curb Appeal projects, has always been willing to volunteer her time and will be missed. Thank you Lisa

If anyone has questions related to the BIA feel free to email chair@winghambia.ca

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