CHAMBER CHAT - Week of October 5
As the realisation the province is facing a second wave of the coronavirus spread and we each deal with the anxiety this presents to every business who has had to phase through a reopening, more than ever it is important to remember we are in this together.

Mental health awareness week couldn't come at a more appropriate time.

I'm certainly feeling the warm weather propelled us to pivot, be creative and lulled us into a sense of normal. Now, with the leaves changing and temperatures cooling (a lot), numbers increasing and family bubbles constricting along with new regulations or previous restrictions being renewed, a sense of concern for the future is rising.

CERB ended last month as did the CECRA (rent) coverage. While CERB may have impacted businesses who were trying to attract their employees back, and CECRA wasn't the best laid plan to support rent relief - you may have used up CEBA or have started to dip in, you may have not felt qualified to apply to CEWS but the program continues to expand so it may be time to look into that if you've brought staff back in to work.

There may be additional opportunities to seek funding through the RRRF allocation amount announced last week - though we do hear loud and clear that a loan, even interest free, is still a last resort. See below for a link for more details.

In case you hadn't seen McDougall's contest offer, the details are below and thanks to them for stepping up to help where some businesses are hurting most.

On Tuesday last week, I participated in our Ontario Chamber policy resolution debate. In years past, this would take a good 12 hours as the chamber network worked together to articulate the needs of business under the Wynn administration. Ford's administration has taken care of some of the greatest concerns over the past couple of years and it allows us to focus on issues that involve supporting housing, child care, education, women in trades and transportation because when business has the chance to thrive, it is also able to pay more attention to supporting its workforce. We accomplished our review of submissions in less than 6 hours and the OCC staff will now begin developing their work for the coming months. The issues were outside the current tumult of the pandemic signaling hope we will come through this somehow and we see signs the problems we faced before the pandemic have not really gone away.

On Wednesday, we had our second conversation with Jamie Hosking, discussing the customer relationship and how one needs to build this in order to "close the sale" - all within the context of building an e-commerce site - but each session acknowledges another step towards making that happen and that truthfully should already be a part of your promotional strategy. See below for links to watch last week's conversation and register for this week's topic on web advertising "Boost or Bust"...
Attending the Truss Beverages tour on Friday was a perfect example of how some businesses have continued to grow, are prepared to make significant investment and maintain faith that customers will exist for their product. Truss represents the partnership between Molson-Coors and Hexo Operations we heard about back in 2019 and they've been quietly creating a $65-million facility in the old Sears warehouse. Production launched earlier in the year and they now have 5 different lines of cannabis-infused beverages, with a variety of flavours and strengths - whether you're looking for a mellow glow or something to help you sleep. I haven't experienced either yet but the conversation with Vladimir, our tour guide and Scott Cooper, President - whom each have had to overcome the "just say no" messaging many of us grew up with - is making me curious. We did get to sample a couple of the base flavours - lemon lime & black cherry (without the cannabis) and certainly, the product quality is evident. The facility is also extraordinary.
And, as with all things during COVID, for every "good news" story, there is a countering "sad news" story to digest... and here at the Cabin, hearing that Ron Gignac had decided to step down as Chief of Police was that for us on Friday. Chief Gignac was "my" first official breakfast speaker when I started in in 2017... and we had scheduled him as our speaker for September, when we were hoping to be celebrating a completed move into the new Belleville Police Services facility. For everyone that met him, he wore his heart for this community on his sleeve. Belleville is better for having had him here as long as we did.

To read his full release, click here
Are you a restaurant owner?
In case I missed including you, I've asked our restaurant members if they're interested in joining a conversation about the impact of what a second wave will mean and how to navigate this here. How this grows remains to be seen but if you are interested in being part of this - focusing on managing sales/curbside, etc - send me an email and I'll add you to the group.
Wednesdays ~ 12:00 -1:00 pm (Zoom)

Exploring the Digital Marketing Landscape...
with Jamie Hosking, City of Belleville E-Commerce Advisor
answering the questions you didn't even know to ask

Session 3) Wednesday, October 7
Is it boost or bust? Social media advertising - Google My Business registration and Google Ads, Facebook / Instagram Ads, display ads and sponsorships vs. boosting

Session 4) Wednesday, October 14
How “word-of-mouth” works online… Attracting and keeping customers - including customer reviews, creating online content, and influencer marketing and what happens when someone says something bad?

October 21 - Small Business Week - watch for details

Session 5) October 28
Opening the Window of Opportunity… Starting an online store doesn’t mean closing the door to walk-ins - choosing a business model, website platform (selling on your own website vs online marketplaces) and establishing online marketing channels.

Session 6) November 4
How’s that working for you? – building around the best and worst of transitioning to an online presence?

Session 1) What is e-commerce? I’m not selling online – why do I need to be there (and how)? – how your web presence serves as your storefront to the world (even locally)

Session 2) Wednesday, September 30
Who loves your stuff? Customer Research - creating a buyer persona, conducting polls and deploying questionnaires to discover your buyer’s needs and pain points.
additional e-commerce solutions through
government funding programs
....details coming soon...
On Friday, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, today announced an additional $184 million for FedDev Ontario to help more businesses across southern Ontario through the RRRF.

The RRRF is a vital tool, supplementing the existing suite of federal relief measures to address the immediate needs of Canadians during the pandemic. This funding for FedDev Ontario is part of an additional $600 million in RRRF funding announced today for RDAs across the country. Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) will provide $30 million of FedDev Ontario’s additional funding to businesses in rural communities across southern Ontario.

For more information on the RRRF, including how to apply, please visit FedDev Ontario’s website. 
In light of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has redesigned our annual Ontario Economic Summit. For 2020, the letters in ‘OES’ will instead stand for the Ontario Economic Series, a collection of virtual forums that connect participants with some of the most influential people from across the globe.

As it has been for nearly 20 years, OES 2020 will be the forum for visionary leaders in the public, private, education and not-for-profit sectors to shape Ontario’s future growth and role in the global economy. We will continue to value inclusivity, collaboration, and the sharing of ideas from around the world to achieve greater prosperity here in Ontario.

Registration is $50/member/session - as our member, the membership rate applies.

As we move "community discovery & events" information over to the DiscoverBelleville newsletter - we have a new "Member Events" section on our website where we will post details of special initiatives you have going on...

If you are hosting or involved with a special event
you can add your events to the calendar with your (login account) or
send us images to add to this space.
Would this help you?
The Big Grant for Small Business
The Big Grant for Small Business was created by McDougall Insurance & Financial & Grenville Mutual Insurance in order to support three small businesses in Ontario that have experienced financial strain during 2020 due to Covid-19. 

Small business owners will have the opportunity to
submit a short essay style submission that includes
a picture of the business or staff, description of the business, business location, 
financial struggles in 2020 and what the
grant funding would be used for.

Grant applications will be accepted from October 1st, 2020 - October 30th, 2020.

The top 3 small businesses will be selected by a panel of judges and The Big Grant,for Small Business winners will be announced on Monday, November 2nd, 2020.
In partnership with the City of Belleville, we've launched the new "" website.

Last week we sent all of our members the first edition of the newsletter to give you an idea of what will be included there...

If you're interested in connecting with this information,
we invite you to
Monday - Friday 8:30 - 4:30 pm