Over the last 22 months, Wendy Leonard has had to adapt and innovate to make it through lockdowns and capacity limits.
“For us, it was a very difficult time to get through those lockdowns,” the Kahiko Bay store owner says.
With limited foot traffic in brick-and-mortar locations, some businesses have adjusted by creating a strong digital presence.
“It really has been a benefit to a lot of different businesses who have found that they’ve been able to generate more traffic, more sales and just raise their overall presence within the community,” says Rob Tamblyn of Kingston Economic Development Corporation (Kingston Ec Dev).
The Kingston Ec Dev team is currently in its third iteration of a partnership with Digital Main Street, a Toronto-based non-profit that assists small businesses in adopting technology.
They are now offering free digital marketing support to local businesses in order to help them better serve customers through e-commerce, social media and more.
“When you’re a non-essential business, we were locked down three times,” says Leonard. “Which means your door is shut so no one can come in and just browse or whatever. So having that online presence is good with everybody stuck at home they can Google you, get some information online before making purchases and coming in.”
Leonard is part of a grant program to assist local businesses in adopting digital skills, but free consultations are available to all local businesses in the Kingston region.
“We have a team, our digital services squad, that has expertise in various things in terms of the digital space,” says Tamblyn. “And so, they can go out and visit your business and kind of do an assessment of where you are, where you need to be, where you want to be and then provide you the steps to get there.”
Kingston Ec Dev is also running a series of online workshops on going digital, with the next one available on Jan. 25.
Tamblyn says businesses can book one-on-one consultations with a digital service advisor and learn more about the programs offered at the Kingston Ec Dev website.
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