Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce

Nominations open for ACOC’s Business Excellence Awards

By Ron Giofu

 

The best of the best in Amherstburg’s business community will be on display April 27 but now is the time to let the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) know who the public thinks is the best.

Nominations are now open for the ACOC’s Business Excellence Awards with the public invited to let the Chamber know who they think the winners should be. ACOC president Carolyn Davies pointed out they have modified the categories slightly, with the major change being elimination of Large Business of the Year and Small Business of the Year and going with Business of the Year and New Business of the Year instead.

There are 11 categories in all with the Welcoming Accessibility Award being a new addition for this year. Davies said that award is geared towards businesses who have taken steps to allow those with disabilities greater access to their establishments.

Other categories include Excellence in Customer Service, Most Attractive Improvement, Community Service/Community Involvement, Growth & Expansion, Investing in a World Class Workforce, Excellence in Food Services, Business Legacy and the ACOC Director’s Choice Awards.

Davies said it is a chance to recognize hard working local businesspeople for the efforts they do and the commitment they make.

“Business owners work hard trying to provide a good service,” she said, adding for many it’s a 24/7 commitment.

The ACOC Business Excellence Awards are a way for the community to show their appreciation to the business community, Davies noted.

Nomination forms can be dropped off at Gibb Insurance, the River Town Times, the Dan Gemus Real Estate, Duby’s Home Centre or people can visit www.amherstburgchamber.com. The awards will be handed out April 27 at Pointe West Golf Club. Tickets are $50 per person and available at the same locations.

ACOC reflects on the past year during recent AGM

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Board members with the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) gathered at the Lord Amherst Public House restaurant for their annual general meeting and reflected back on their most recent year.

Among the board executive in attendance were president Carolyn Davies, treasurer Chris Gibb and directors Ray Bezaire, Janet Willoughby and Dan Gemus and they looked back on some of the ACOC’s more recent accomplishments.

“We got a lot of successful networking projects done,” said Davies.

The ACOC also supported local events, such as the town’s Canuck It Up! Festival.

“It’s been a very busy year,” she said.

Gibb pointed out the chamber had “successful lawsuit” regarding the 2015 Mardi Gras with organizer Ian France ordered to pay back overpayments amounting to $8,607.64, plus interest, as well as legal fees. The total amount of the reimbursement, according to ACOC officials, was $10,812.30.

“We got a settlement we worked a long time for,” said Gibb. “We’re glad to have that behind us.”

Dan Gemus, Carolyn Davies, Janet Willoughby, Ray Bezaire and Chris Gibb discuss the business of the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce as part of the organization’s AGM Feb. 15.

Bezaire noted they are going to reinvest that money back into the membership, stating they are guardians of other people’s money.

Davies said plans for the future include focusing on direct support for businesses, whether that be through networking support, social media or other means at the ACOC’s disposal.

Bezaire noted the chamber wants to work with the Town of Amherstburg on business attraction and retention. Davies added they meet quarterly with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo to discuss “issues of importance” to the business community.

“We are going to be having the Business Excellence Awards,” Davies stated. “That will be happening at the end of April.”

With the municipal election being Oct. 22, the ACOC also plans on hosting all-candidates nights.

The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce currently has 154 paid members, a number that they are pleased with.

“It’s huge for a town like Amherstburg,” added Gibb.

For more information on the ACOC or to join, visit www.amherstburgchamber.com, e-mail amherstburgchamber@gmail.com or call 519-736-2001.

Just a few days left to participate in “12 Days of Christmas” Scavenger Hunt

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

As part of Amherstburg’s annual winter festival, the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce is always looking for ways to expand the festival and bring the local businesses more exposure.

“The 12 days of Christmas is a scavenger hunt style event that started with a handful of down town businesses three years ago,” explained Chris Gibb, board member of Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce. “Each year it has grown until we now have a situation where we it is ‘first come, first served.’ It’s really grown into an event all by itself. Our goal is to create a unique way for people to discover businesses they might not otherwise know about. It also helps the businesses reach new customers that may have never visited their location in the past.”
Gibb explained this year they had even more businesses apply than they had spaces for, and joked it may turn into 15 or 17 days of Christmas in the coming years, and it just goes to show the support the local businesses have the community.

The idea of the scavenger hunt, is the participating businesses each have a “prop” in their stores. This “prop” is a 3D sculpture created by Just Cork It owner and artist Lori Bezaire. From 11 pipers piping, to a partridge in the pear tree, Bezaire created 10 of the 12 props used by the local businesses.

“We put them in the stores in a corner somewhere, so it makes people go through the store to look for the prop,” explained Bezaire. “We’re asking the store owners to promote their business while people are going through and then once they find the prop they can get their stamp. We decided it would be better to do it over 12 days, so it gave these businesses a longer period of time for them to be able to promote their businesses more and not just have people running through to get a stamp. We are hoping this will bring people through stores that they may not have ever been through and shop local.”

Bezaire’s involvement with the sculptures started when she spent nine months creating Bumble from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, which was followed by her creation of Frosty from Frosty the Snowman.

“I am totally honored, I love being creative and it’s nice to share and I love our community so be able to participate and even as a store owner to be able to promote our business as well, I love Amherstburg and to be able to share and be creative with the town of Amherstburg is an honor to me,” said Bezaire. “I love the idea of the 12 Days of Christmas, for me it’s an opportunity for all of the businesses to network together and promote one another. A strong business core makes for a strong town, I’m hoping this will inspire that.”

The participating businesses this year are 67 Richmond Street, Amherstburg Audiology, Duby’s Home Centre, Embrace Dental Hygiene, Just Cork It, Libro Credit Union, Mealtime Express, Precision Jewellers, River Canard Outpost General Store, Royal Canadian Legion Fort Malden Branch 157, Sotto and Wolfhead Distillery. No purchase is necessary to participate in the event, and those who get all 12 stamps are eligible for a prize valued at $600. The winner will be announced at the River Light “Ignite the Night” opening ceremony this Saturday at 6 p.m.

Amherstburg encouraging residents to shop local this Black Friday

 

 

By Jolene Perron

 

Rather than joining the crowds bombarding the border chasing after deals in the U.S., Amherstburg merchants are aiming to keep resident’s money local with their incredible deals this holiday season.

Black Friday has been an iconic U.S. event for years. The deals have recently spread into the Canadian market, and Amherstburg merchants are looking to keep shoppers in their stores.

“The Black Friday event in Amherstburg is all about strengthening our local economy,” explained Carolyn Davies, president of the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce. “With the growing participation by Amherstburg businesses in the Black Friday event there has been an expanding success of keeping local shoppers looking for great deals in Amherstburg. More shoppers are realizing they can get great bargains here at home, save the cost of crossing the border, the higher rate of exchange and taxes. The more businesses who participate, the more shoppers who become committed to spending their dollars at home and invest in their own town’s success.”

Davies explained, the Black Friday event in Amherstburg is all about strengthening our local economy. When residents shop local and put their hard earned money back into their own local economy during what she refers to as the “off season” for merchants, it gives local businesses the support they need and they will in turn continue to invest in our town.

Lynn Sinasac, owner of The Village Shoppe, a small independently run family business is giving it their best shot to compete with the U.S. Black Friday sales.

“Black Friday benefits our business by bringing together the local businesses and having one big event, bringing in old and new customers and giving them some much appreciated savings,” explained Sinasac. “We have a great time with our customers with our annual Balloon Pull which gives them an extra 5-50 per cent off their total purchase at check out. Being a small family run business, we truly appreciate our customers and their support. Online shopping has made it easy for people to never leave their homes. This affects our small local shops.  Please support your local vendors and your neighbours that they may employ.”

The Amherstburg Black Friday event runs Nov. 24-26. Be sure to check out the special section in The River Town Times, which will include 16 pages of deals and will come out Nov. 22.

 

ACOC holding “Twelve Days of Christmas” scavenger hunt again this year

 

 

The Christmas carol, “12 days of Christmas” has been a traditional song that has been sung for 237 years. It was written by Fredrick Austin in 1780 and has become a favourite melody during the Christmas Holiday season around the English-speaking world ever since.

Honoring that Christmas tradition, the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce (ACOC) is holding its second annual “Twelve Days of Christmas Scavenger Hunt” starting Nov. 7 at noon ending Nov. 18 at noon.

“This gives participants lots of time to take ballot cards and find the treasures hidden around town,” said ACOC president Carolyn Davies. “No purchases are required to take part.”

Davies said the ACOC has taken this theme and created a scavenger hunt “to have some fun and enhance the holiday spirit.”

“The purpose of the event is to highlight local Amherstburg businesses by creating an incentive for participants to explore shops and restaurants in different parts of Amherstburg,” she said. “The contest will give businesses an opportunity to show case their products and encourage participants of the hunt the opportunity to discover Amherstburg businesses that they may not have been aware of in the past and get to know the local shopkeepers better.”

The “Twelve Days of Christmas” scavenger hunt, presented by the Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce, will help kick off the 11th annual River Lights Winter Festival.

There will be 12 Amherstburg businesses that will be involved in the scavenger hunt, she added. All interested businesses are invited to send their request into the ACOC by Sept. 30. They will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis.

“Those who are interested in supporting the contest but missed out on the limited slots can still participate in a modified way. More details will be provided to participating and supporting businesses once the locations are determined,” said Davies.

Scavenger hunters can start their hunting Nov. 7 at noon and will have 12 full days to seek out all the other locations, ending Nov. 18 at noon sharp. Davies said the ballot boxes will then be picked up and the draw for the winner will take place Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. as part of the Downtown Holiday night event.

“There is one grand prize of approximately $600 value of gifts contributed

by participating merchants equaling $50 each,” Davies explained. “Each participating merchant and supporting merchants are also encouraged to offer in-store incentives with each purchase made by scavenger hunters.”

Davies added that “anyone and everyone can participate in the scavenger hunt by going to one of the participating stores who will provide the required ballots with all the participating stores and the clues to items they will be seeking.”

The ACOC looks forward to the community participation in this “Spirit of the Holiday” contest, she continued.

“As the slogan says, Amherstburg, You’ll love it here.”

The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce’s phone number is 519-736-2001 and their website is www.amherstburgchamber.com. Their e-mail address is amherstburgchamber@gmail.com.