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Economic Development eNews | January 26, 2021
Business Profile
Innovative Wills Transfer still expanding after 75 years
Wills Transfer Limited, a 4th-generation family business, is proudly celebrating 75 years while continuing to expand its operations.

Reaching gold status in 2020 as one of Canada's Best Managed Companies, Wills Transfer provides world-class supply chain services, inventory management, order fulfillment, transportation and outsourcing solutions.

"Our goal is to work alongside our customers and provide them with innovative logistics solutions to be part of their success," says President Terry Wills.

Wills Transfer has been experiencing even more growth recently to keep pace with consumer buying patterns.

"Where we are growing is in partnering with manufacturers and large retailers to be an extension of their warehouses, and a significant part of their supply chain. It allows them to focus on core research and development, production and sales," says Jordi Wills, company Vice-President and General Manager of the Brockville facility.

The Wills Transfer head office is located in Rideau Lakes Township on the outskirts of Smiths Falls. At that location the company provides refrigerated warehousing. There are also additional locations in Perth and Ottawa. In Brockville, Wills Transfer recently doubled its warehousing capacity, adding 260,000-square-feet of warehouse space off-site over and above its 210,000-square-feet on Parkedale Avenue.

The company will begin construction of a 225,000-square-foot distribution centre in nearby Ingleside this year to further expand and meet demand.

During the COVID 19 pandemic, the company has been involved in several large personal protective equipment (PPE) distribution projects. The masks, gloves and gowns are received into Wills Transfer warehouses and distributed throughout Canada.

Wills Transfer began operations in 1945 with only two trucks and has had consistent growth over its 75 years. The company now employs more than 200 people and will be adding workers this year.

Learn more about Wills Transfer by visiting their website, Facebook page, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. For more information contact Business Development Manager Colin Goodfellow via email or call 613-315-4780.
Top feature photo: Wills Transfer Limited's Jordi and Terry Wills, Vice-President and President respectively.
Above photos from the top: Wills Transfer's head office in Rideau Lakes Township; one of their warehouses; the Brockville office. Below: One of the trucks from their fleet.
Digital Main Street
Email Mailing Lists – Worth Their Weight in Gold

We’ve all signed up for them at one point or another. Love them or loathe them, mailing lists are here to stay.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing sees a 4300% average return on investment for businesses. It’s a powerful form of communication, and one you can’t afford to miss out on. There are many reasons to build a mailing list. It’s the easiest way to get a message out to your customers quickly.

Studies show 91% of consumers check their email daily, while going days without checking some social media platforms. Mailing lists are also a great way to ensure your customers become repeat customers, bringing regular awareness of a brand they already know and trust.

Mailing lists can come across as more personal than an ad, being able to insert personalized names in your greetings. And most importantly – once you have a mailing list, you own it. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter can change frequently, but people remain loyal to their email address far longer than their social media platforms.

Are you convinced? If so, the Digital Service Squads throughout Leeds Grenville can help you begin your mailing list journey. Reach out to your local Digital Service Squad, contact econdev@uclg.on.ca or call 613-342-3840, ext. 5361.  
Business owner Susie McIntosh, of Susie M’s Hidden Treasures, operates her store of eclectic finds and curios at 200 Sanders Street, Unit 103, in Old Town Kemptville. Among her treasures are china, solid woods, antiques, vintage furniture, unique pieces and collector items. Her motto: "Where selected heirlooms become new treasures."

Susie wanted to make improvements to her online capabilities and her store's online presence. She has been working with Julie DeBoer, a member of the North Grenville Digital Service Squad.

“The members of the DSS were very easy to deal with and ensured that my husband and I always had the most current information," says Susie.

"The Digital Main Street grant application and training programs were very easy to access," she says.
Above photo: Susie McIntosh from Susie M's Hidden Treasures.
Above photo: Meagan Warren, owner of Wilding Acres.
Another business in North Grenville that has been working with the DSS is Wilding Acres, a family run flower farm that specializes in the utilization of sustainable farming techniques to produce hand-tied, seasonal flower bouquets. Wilding Acres is operated by Meagan Warren and her son Jax.

“My youngest son asked if we could start a business where we grew and sold plants so that when he grew up he could stay home and grow plants with me. I had trouble saying no to that request,” says Meagan.

“I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Digital Main Street Program. DSS member Ronnie Quesnel reached out to me within days of my application and was able to answer my questions and help me with getting my digital assets and ideas organized. The knowledge I have gained thus far is truly invaluable and it makes me so optimistic for the future of my business,” adds Meagan.
Small Business Enterprise Centres
Local Small Business Centres Offers - Ask the Experts

Have you experienced a loss of revenue? Are you struggling with what to do next? Are you frustrated with all the challenges and roadblocks you are facing with operating your business right now?

Would you like some help with these topics: Accounting, Legal, Social Media, Human Resources, Business Planning, Coaching and Marketing.

The Small Business Ontario Network is providing additional funds to the region’s Small Business Centres to provide businesses in Leeds Grenville with assistance to recover from the effects of COVID-19.
Small business owners can access one-on-one time with an expert for no charge. To be eligible the business is registered as a Sole proprietor, General Partnership or Corporation with 0 to 5 employees. The business needs to be currently operating, earning some revenue and effected by COVID-19.

You are not alone, contact your Small Business Centre to get expert advice on what to do.

Athens, Augusta, Brockville, Edwardsburgh Cardinal, Elizabethtown-Kitley (south portion), Front of Young, Leeds and the Thousand Islands, Gananoque, Prescott and North Grenville:
Contact: Leeds Grenville Small Business Centre - Email Carol Hardy or call 613-342-0400 x 4432.

Elizabethtown-Kitley (north portion), Merrickville-Wolford, Rideau Lakes, Westport:
Contact: Small Business Advisory Centre (Smiths Falls / Lanark County / Leeds Grenville) - Email Cindy James or call 613-283-7002 x108. Visit the website
Funding Opportunities
Ontario Small Business Support Grant - Help with COVID-19 Costs

Applications are open for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant, that helps businesses that are significantly affected by the Provincewide Shutdown.

Starting at $10,000 for all eligible businesses, the grant provides businesses with funding to a maximum of $20,000 to help cover decreased revenue expected as a result of the Provincewide Shutdown.

The business must demonstrate they experienced a revenue decline of at least 20 per cent when comparing monthly revenue in April 2019 and April 2020. Alternative revenue decline comparatives are available if a business is not operating in the month of April. New businesses established since April 2019 are also eligible provided they meet the other eligibility criteria.

Businesses will be able to use the support in whatever way makes the most sense for them. For example, some businesses could use the support to pay employee wages, while others may need support maintaining their inventory.

Eligibility Requirements Include:
  • Fewer than 100 employees at the enterprise level
  • Business number. If a business does not have a business number, they will be directed to apply for a business number before they can proceed with their application.

Application deadline is March 31, 2021.

For more information see the user guide.
COVID-19 Tourism Adaptation Fund

Regional Tourism Organization 9 (RTO 9) will administer the funding and distribute it to tourism-related businesses located within Leeds Grenville (with the exception of businesses in Gananoque who are eligible for funding through a similar program operated by Kingston Economic Development Corporation).
Application intake is open until February 15, 2021- 4:00 pm. 
This is a non-repayable grant of between $1,500 - $20,000. Applicants need to have a matching cash contribution of 20%. The grant will cover 80% excluding HST.

Eligible tourism Tourism Operators as defined by and according to Tourism HR Canada include:
  • Accommodation
  • Recreation and Entertainment
  • Food and beverage services
  • Travel services
  • Transportation
  • Retail stores heavily dependent on tourism may also be considered.  

Eligible costs include:
  • Health and safety protocol that could be signage, virtual queue, plexi glass partitions etc. Anything that would help the business apply local/provincial health guidelines
  • Alterations to accommodate social distancing including expansion of patio space for restaurants (including tables, chairs, umbrellas) and/or acquisition of equipment like outdoor heaters to extend seasons
  • The purchase of large-scale PPE or sanitizing equipment (fog machines etc.)
  • Cleaning supplies for workers/customers
  • The acquisition and implementation of digital tools and operating transformations like virtual queue, timed entry ticketing or contactless check-ins, contactless payment upgrades.

For more information and to apply visit:

Direct any questions via email to Bonnie RuddockExecutive Director of Region 9 Regional Tourism Organization.
Shopping Local
Curbside pick-up is available at many of our businesses throughout the region

Please check the Leeds Grenville Business Directory for all businesses in the region. If you are a Leeds Grenville business and not in the directory please register.

In addition, municipalities and Chambers of Commerce have customized pages to communicate changes local businesses have made to navigate the provincial shutdown:

Local input is being requested on labour market information and future directions for the St. Lawrence Parks Commission. Please take a few minutes to complete the surveys below.

Eastern Workforce Innovation Board - EmployerOne Survey
Understanding local labour market demand (3-10 minutes)
Deadline February 26, 2021

St. Lawrence Parks Commission – future directions and priorities
Deadline February 3, 2021
Complete survey                            
Workshops, Seminars and Webinar Library
Can Mental Health Affect My Business? Yes it Can!

Do you know someone who is experiencing a mental health challenge, like anxiety or depression? In fact, even pre COVID-19, over 500,000 Canadians were unable to work in any given week due to mental health issues.

How do entrepreneurs maintain their own mental health and at the same time know what signs to look for that indicate a member of their team may be struggling? What resources are available to you or your team?
Join Julie Holden as she discusses how sole practitioners and employers can tap into resiliency and understand when and how to seek help. In this interactive session, Julie will provide information on how mental health impacts businesses, how to identify challenges as well as resources to access. She’ll also discuss what a mentally healthy workplace looks like and talk about ways to achieve it. Hosted by the Small Business Advisory Centre.

WHEN: Thursday, January 28, 10-11:30 a.m. via Zoom
COST: Free

Digital Main Street: Three Business Transformation Stories - The Before and After

Digital Main Street "Future Proof" program for Eastern Ontario has helped over 40 businesses to date, transform their websites with a focus to increase sales through an improved digital presence.

Hear the stories from three Digital Transformation team leaders as they discuss with Launch Lab's Stephen Beamish the experiences and results of helping three businesses across Eastern Ontario:

WHEN: Friday, January 29, 9-10 a.m.
COST: Free

Google Ad Webinar

Learn how to create google ads for your business. Digital Service Squad Members from Leeds and the Thousand Islands, Gananoque and North Grenville will show you how to create a Google Ad Campaign featuring some ad examples. Q&A available at the end of the session.

WHEN: Friday, January 29, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. via Zoom
COST: Free

Making Sales on Social Media

Learn how to set up a Facebook or Instagram shop, create shoppable posts, promote your ecommerce store and much more. This one-hour webinar will focus on strategies surrounding online sales for your social media platforms. Jennifer Baker will walk you through how to set up a Facebook and Instagram Shops, create shoppable posts, promote your ecommerce store and so much more.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 3,
10-11 a.m.
Wednesday, February 10, 1-2 p.m.
COST: Free

For more information contact: redprojectcoordinator@gananoque.ca

Share More – Save Time – Grow Sales
Small Business Social Media Interactive Session

Leeds Grenville Digital Main Street Digital Service Squad are sharing best practices and quick and easy ways to:
  • Build a social media plan
  • Fill your marketing calendar
  • Create sharable content
  • Post to the best platforms

WHEN: Wednesday, February 10, 11 a.m. to Noon
COST: Free

For more information and to register.  Cyndy is available to assist by email or call 613-342-3840 x 5368.
Food and Beverage Export Opportunities in the Netherlands & Germany

OMAFRA is presenting a webinar to Ontario suppliers on exporting to Netherlands & Germany. Speakers will include industry experts and Trade Commissioners from two key markets in the European Union, The Netherlands and Germany.

WHEN: Wednesday, February 10, 10-11 a.m.
COST: Free
If you are interested in learning more about this webinar please email Jennifer.hannam@ontario.ca 
Keeping Ontario Safe: What You Need to Know About Employment Standards & Occupational Health and Safety Related to COVID-19

The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is hosting an online information session to help you understand your employment standards and occupational health and safety rights and obligations as they relate to COVID-19.

The session will be delivered by subject-matter experts from the ministry who will answer frequently asked questions the ministry receives about COVID-19, such as:
  • What flexibility is there around changing hours of work?
  • Can an employee be fired if they refuse to go back to work due to a family obligation related to COVID-19
  • Who is responsible for protecting workers against COVID-19 in the workplace?
  • Can a worker refuse to work if they feel unsafe due to COVID-19?

There will also be a Q&A period where you can ask and get answers to your own questions.

WHEN: Thursday, February 11, 10 a.m. to 12 noon via Zoom
COST: Free

Succession planning

Tackle the challenges of Succession Planning in today’s highly competitive and tight talent marketplace. Specifically, this webinar will: Differentiate between Succession Planning and Business Continuity, Ensure bench strength readiness for vital positions, and Explore the steps of Succession Planning. This is a 'Three on Thursday' Employer Webinar Series offered by the Eastern Workforce Innovation Board.

WHEN: Thursday, February 11, 10-11 a.m.
COST: Free

12-Week Food Venture Bootcamp

Are you interested in a 12-Week Food Venture Bootcamp? Do you have a great recipe or food business product that you would like to have retail ready? Have you been selling food at the local markets and now want to take your business to the next level? Are you a business owner who wants to add a new revenue stream by packaging and selling your products or sauces? The Small Business Advisory Centre has 6 spaces through the Food Venture Program. This course will help you to grow your food business, scale up your products, packaging and nutrition labelling and financial feasibility.

The 12 Week Food Venture Bootcamp will teach you many of the requirements for the food industry.
You will receive live instruction (not pre-recorded) and 1-1 professional food industry mentoring.

WHEN: February 17 - May 12, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Email Cindy James at cjames@smallbizcentre.ca.
COVID-19 Information for Businesses: New information will continue to be posted on the dedicated business COVID-19 webpage at www.investleedsgrenville.com/covid19.To ensure you don’t miss anything, go to the bottom of the webpage to subscribe and you will receive updates as they are posted. For additional business assistance call 613-342-3840 ext. 5365 or email.
Leeds Grenville eNews Deadlines for submitting information:
If you have an upcoming workshop, seminar, or business-related event, please email it to us in advance.
  • Submissions for the February 9th edition should be received by Monday, February 1st, 2021.
  • Submissions for the February 26th edition should be received by Friday, February 12th, 2021.
32 Wall Street, Suite 300, Brockville, ON K6V 4R9
613-342-3840 | 1-800-770-2170 | econdev@uclg.on.ca