$100k Approved for Main Street Businesses
Main Streets play a vital role in growing the Canadian economy and supporting local communities.
That’s why the City of Sarnia is pleased to announce that 10 local businesses each received a non-repayable contribution of $10,000 from the My Main Street (MMS) Local Business Accelerator program.
The MMS Local Business Accelerator program is delivered by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario with a Government of Canada investment of $23.25 million, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), to support the recovery and strength of main streets and local businesses in southern Ontario.
The contribution has allowed these businesses to take advantage of new growth and expansion opportunities identified through custom market research they’ve been provided.
The program, implemented by the City of Sarnia’s Economic Development Department, was launched in February 2022 and concluded in March 2023. It emphasized the impact of market research, data analysis, and the understanding of market gaps to identify opportunities for business growth.
The program also provided businesses in downtown and Mitton Village a chance to access one of ten (10) non-repayable contributions valued at up to $10,000 each. Both new and existing businesses in Sarnia’s downtown and Mitton Village areas were eligible to participate.
In addition to the $10,000 contributions, the program funded a Main Street Ambassador. This individual recruited and supported businesses in both areas and offered resources like community market profiles and business training opportunities.
Keep reading to find out more about the 10 businesses that were successful in securing the $10,000 non-repayable contributions and how they benefited.
That’s What She Grows sells rare plants, flowers, home décor and accessories, offering customers a personalized touch in a modern environment. The store is located on Christina Street in downtown Sarnia. Owner Nicole Warner used consumer market data available through the MMS program and the $10,000 contribution to introduce new international products to her inventory and create a promotional campaign to attract more customers, build brand awareness and gain customer loyalty.
Alfredo Pasta Boutique, located on Cromwell Street in Sarnia’s downtown, is a specialty Italian grocery store offering imported and domestically produced grocery items. After using MMS data to identify market gaps and opportunities, Owner Andrea Proia applied for and received a $10,000 non-repayable contribution. He used the funds to introduce an Italian bakery in the store and to improve the store’s online presence through website development and new digital marketing strategies.
Dog Eat Dog is a gift shop located on Mitton Street South in Mitton Village. It offers locally sourced, handmade furniture and unique gifts with options for custom work from 38 different artisans. Owner Chrissy McRoberts applied to the MMS program after receiving customized market research and the community market profile. After noticing opportunities for growth, she invested the $10,000 contribution into incorporating accessibility into her business through the addition of a ramp and inclusive, innovative branding. Façade improvements were also completed, and she introduced new, privately labeled product lines including cold coffee and ice cream.
Personal Touch Eatery & Catering is a restaurant located on Mitton Street in Mitton Village. It offers fresh, hand-cooked specialty food items and specializes in take-out, catering of all kinds and cooking classes. Realizing the potential of big data and technological integration, Owner Paresh Thakkar participated in the MMS program and invested the $10,000 he received into redesigning Personal Touch’s menu, purchasing new equipment, implementing a new loyalty program, and improving the restaurant’s visibility and curb appeal by adding lighting, window graphics, paint and new signage.
Nunu Concept is a luxury furniture store owned by Gokhan Kavakli. The business offers customized and ready-made, uniquely designed furniture solutions for high-end retailers, interior designers, architects and households. Located on Front Street in downtown Sarnia, Nunu Concept identified market gaps in the MMS data and applied for the $10,000 contribution. Kavakli used the funds to conduct leasehold improvements, purchase new equipment, introduce new technologies and implement new marketing strategies.
A New Dawn Trinkets & Treasures is a thrift store that specializes in offering unique items and collectables at affordable prices for people of all walks of life. Established as a new business in 2022, this Mitton Village business is located on Ontario Street and is a recipient of a MMS $10,000 non-repayable contribution. Owner Tricia Conway invested the funds into transforming the business with a new interior layout and improved branding.
Riverbank & Co. is a gift shop located on Front Street in downtown Sarnia. It sells everything from art to jewellery, bath and body products to kitchen and barware, with a focus on locally made products and apparel. Established in 2017 by Jessica Butler and Sandy Butler, the business was accepted into the MMS program after receiving the custom market profile and identifying market opportunities. Jessica and Sandy used their $10,000 contribution towards new custom-designed products, new signage, new equipment and upgrading their store’s interior.
Maud’s Variety is a retro-style bar located in Sarnia’s Mitton Village featuring craft drinks from across Ontario. The business model focuses on alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, simple snacks and live music. Owner Josh Walters used the $10,000 contribution to take advantage of a booming food and beverage industry and increased demand within the community by investing in food, live entertainment and outdoor programing. Funds went towards new equipment to expand menu options and improve stage lighting and sound.
Mad Munch, established in 2022, is a new fast-food restaurant located on Wellington Street in Mitton Village. The business specializes in popular breakfast, lunch and dinner options, offering quality food, quick service, convenience and affordability. Owned by Youssef Shatila, Mad Munch applied to the MMS program and received a $10,000 non-repayable contribution as well as a market research report. Youssef’s goal was to use the funds to improve the family dining experience and increase sales. He invested in décor, furniture, new technology and marketing initiatives.
Feather Your Nest, located on Front Street in downtown Sarnia, is a high-end, premium gift, yarn, textile and jewellery retail outlet. Operating since 1998, the business sources unique products from around the world. Owner Theresa (Terri) O’Brien received a $10,000 non-repayable contribution and market research assistance through MMS. The funds went towards introducing eco-friendly packaging materials and other environmentally friendly products, external façade improvements, and direct marketing to celebrate the business’s longevity in the downtown area.
Click on the image(s) below to expand.