We were delighted to welcome a number of new faces to the Chamber including Kate Gahan, the new practice manager for the Ottawa Valley Family Health Team. The team consolidates the services of a number of family physicians with complementary services of nurse practitioners and other allied services in the newly renovated site of the former Fairview Manor. Kate invites everyone to drop in at the Open House on Thursday, 14 June. For more info visit www.ovfht.ca.
Also joining us for the first time were Tommy Lam, the new owner and pharmacist for Shoppers Drug Mart in Almonte; Joe Rizk, who has recently established his woodworking business in town (WOODWARE.CA); Colleen Russell, Account Manager and Customer Service Rep. for the RBC in Pakenham and Marion Taylor, joined us as a guest of Cindy Hobbs, manager of the RBC in Almonte. Marion is a writer with experience in developing grant applications for a neighbouring Chamber. Great news!
The evenings "shop local" panel opened with Cynthia and Tony Stuart highlighting the homegrown Get It Here program, a customer loyalty card with strong links to the DowntownAlmonte.ca internet marketing initiative and a critical mass of businesses from all parts of Mississippi Mills already on board. For more info on the program and to register as a merchant visit the Get it Here web site.
Scott McLellan, chair of the Town's Community and Economic Development Committee (CEDC) gave us a quick overview of the highlights from the Queen's Business Consulting (QBC) report Mississippi Mills: An Economic Development Plan. The QBC report's "three prong" approach recommends:
- Ongoing emphasis on tourism and promoting the diversity of the downtown core to generate traffic at all times of the day.
- Adopting the Asset Based Community Development model to encourage long term growth of permanent residents with an focus on the "Creative Economy" to capitalize on our existing strengths.
- Implementing the Enterprise Facilitation model and pre-building office space to stimulate development in the industrial park.
Scott's talk generated lively discussion about how to ensure that at least some of these great ideas are put into practice! For more details, download a copy of the report and/or a copy of the presentation given to council by the Queen's University students who prepared the report.
Margie Argue gave us an update on the ongoing Pakenham's Got It program which has displays in various businesses in the village with business cards for neighbouring businesses available for customers to take. Don St John of Don's Meat Market spoke to his experience running businesses in both downtowns of Almonte and Pakenham.
Jeff Mills, recent recipient of the Young Award Foundation award for Cultural Volunteerism gave an impassioned plea on the value of our many festivals to the business community and the mutual benefit of sponsorship opportunities. Of course a talk from Jeff would not have been complete without some reference to bicycles and he encouraged businesses to participate in the upcoming workshop on cycle tourism on Thursday, 24 May, sponsored by the Welcome Cyclists Network. To find out more about the workshop and to register visit http://welcomecyclistsworkshoplanark.eventbrite.com. For more info on events coming up during Bicycle Month in June, check out MMBicycleMonth.ca.
We also had a wonderful response to our offer to sponsor door prizes. This months winners were:
- Maxine Brown, of Make Up by Maxine, won a lovely gift basket of homemade wine, wine glasses and treats from the residents of Carleton Place Manor donated by Liz Taylor, Marketing Director.
- Dianna Lachappelle, manager of the Almonte Antique Market, won a complimentary manicure-pedicure from Make Up by Maxine. Maxine has just opened her new location on Bridge Street in Almonte across from the Old Town Hall.
- Margie Argue and Joe Rizk each received one of two gift certificates for Don's Meat Market donated by Gary Gillis, of Gary Gillis Drafting and Technical Services.
- Bill O'Hara, O'Hara Insurance, and Kristen Ray, Naismith Foundation each won a Get It Here card donated by Cynthia Stuart, co-owner of Kentfield Kids.
Thanks once again to the Barley Mow for hosting this month's mixer, to Paddye Mann and Kris Riendeau for organizing and hosting the program. Thanks as well to Art Levi and Stephen Brathwaite who handled the registration desk this month and Marilyn Anderson who took care of the door prize tickets.
Finally, mark Wednesday, 20 June, in your calendars for the June Mixer to be held at the Equator Coffee Roasters with owner Craig Hall as our speaker. This will be our final mixer before the summer break and is sure to be a good one.
David Baril, Secretary
Mississippi Mills Chamber of Commerce