My Main Street Local Business Accelerator

The My Main Street Local Business Accelerator Program, led by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO), has been designed to help drive business and restore vibrancy to local communities across southern Ontario in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will support the revitalization of 65 main street communities by providing each with a dedicated Main Street Ambassador, customized marketing research, data analysis and non-repayable funding contributions for small businesses. Over the 2022 year, the City of Orillia will be participating in this program to help grow existing businesses and bring new entrepreneurs to the Business Improvement Area (Downtown Orillia). 

Photo of Amber Elliott, Main Street Ambassador

Amber Elliott will be working closely with over 200 businesses in Downtown Orillia to provide hands-on business advisory support and resources to help each business grow and bring consumers back to the downtown core. Amber will also use market research and data analysis to aid in creating a healthy retail mix downtown by helping new entrepreneurs come to the Orillia area.

If you would like to receive updates and information or a free consultation related to the My Main Street program, please email aelliott@orillia.ca.

 

 

Orillia Area Neighbourhood Social (Wednesday, September 7th, 2022 from 4pm-6pm)

The City of Orillia, in partnership with the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC) and the Downtown Orillia Management Board (DOMB), is excited to host an Orillia Area Neighbourhood Social.  All interested attendees must RSVP to orillia.ca/NeighbourhoodSocialRSVP by Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, at noon.

The social will take place on Sept. 7, 2022, from 4 to 6 p.m. at Creative Nomad Studios (23 Mississaga St. W.) and will bring together business leaders and business support organizations from across the Orillia area to showcase the resources that are available to local entrepreneurs. 

Orillia Area Neighbourhood Social Information

Click here to view the joint news release issued on behalf of the City of Orillia and the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario (My Main Street, Local Business Accelerator Program).

Orillia Area Neighbourhood Social Poster

Through the My Main Street program, each community will be given access to the following resources:
 Community Market Profile
  • The Main Street Ambassador will be reaching out to all businesses in Orillia’s Downtown Business Improvement Area to create a detailed Community Market Profile. Amber will be surveying the community to better understand what types of products and services are offered by each business.
  • This will be paired with secondary market research to understand the community’s demographics, how residents spend their money, how they consume media, the community’s trade area, and more.
  • Both the primary and secondary research will be used to target opportunities for rebuilding the Main Street.
 Wrap-Around Business Support
  • The Main Street Ambassador will focus on providing wrap-around community economic development support for both new and existing businesses.
  • This will include business planning, marketing and financial templates, detailed market research, business opportunity identification, and more.
 Main Street Business Training
  • Local businesses can access a range of on-demand and in-person virtual training sessions to support their operations.
  • More information on business training will be coming soon.
 Local Business Non-Repayable Contributions
  • Over the course of the program, the businesses within the Downtown Orillia Business Improvement Area will receive up to ten $10,000 non-repayable contributions to support local businesses. Five non-repayable contributions are available for exiting businesses, while five non-repayable contributions are available for new businesses.
  • Applicants for these non-repayable contributions will be required to participate in training and regular meetings with the My Main Street Ambassador Network.
  • For more information on eligibility, visit the My Main Street website.

News & Updates

My Main Street Success Stories Series

As part of the City of Orillia’s participation in the My Main Street Local Business Accelerator Program, we will be highlighting businesses in the downtown area that have achieved success through new and innovative business practices and partnerships. My Main Street is supported by a $23.5-million Government of Canada investment through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).

 Lone Wolf Café - Creating a Unique Night Life Experience in Downtown Orillia

May 2, 2022

The most recent addition to Orillia’s nightlife is not found at your typical bar, but rather a café turned late-night lounge. The Lone Wolf Café is a specialty coffee shop by day and transforms into the After Dark Cocktail Lounge by night. Owned and operated by Max Lamontagne, this specialty bar can be found at 10 Matchedash St. S. in the heart of downtown Orillia.

 Owner of Lone Wolf Cafe, Max Lamontagne

Lamontagne moved from Ottawa to Orillia about eight years ago, citing Orillia’s charm as his primary reason for relocating to the City.

 

“I really liked Orillia as a town, and I could see myself living here for the rest of my life. It is close enough to the city to go for a weekend if you needed and the downtown is lively all summer. The community is very supportive of their downtown businesses which was a big draw for me,” said Lamontagne. “Orillia has a small-town charm you only really get outside of the cities. As I got more involved in the community, I realized there was a void to be filled and space for a specialty coffee shop.”

 

Lamontagne was impressed with the foot traffic and volume of visitors in the downtown, especially during the spring and summer seasons. Lamontagne opened the Lone Wolf Café in July of 2020 and it’s been a staple for downtown professionals ever since.

 

As time went on, Lamontagne saw the need for a mature adult nightlife in downtown Orillia. After working late in the café, Lamontagne noticed that there was a nice “speakeasy” atmosphere throughout the shop at night, which sparked the idea of the After Dark Cocktail Lounge.

 Espresso Drink from Lone Wolf Cafe

“I wanted to create a nightlife experience where you could bring your parents, where everyone would feel comfortable,” Lamontagne said. “It is a space I wanted to create for everyone.”

 

The After Dark Cocktail Lounge has been a big success with the lounge fully packed most Friday and Saturday nights. The menu features an entire section of various espresso martinis as well as the classics, wines, craft beers, and specialty cocktails created specifically for their lounge that will continuously change with the seasons. The lounge attracts an audience of young professionals, students, and entrepreneurs. After a few short months Lamontagne has already expanded hours of operation to keep up with the growing demand. As the weather gets nicer, the After Dark Cocktail Lounge will expand to being open five nights a week, Wednesday through Sunday.

 

In addition to expanding hours, Lamontagne is exploring several partnerships with other entrepreneurs. A recent partnership with Provenance Commissary, a new wine bar that is slated to open in downtown Orillia this spring, will allow patrons to attend wine-tasting events at the After Dark Cocktail Lounge. Lamontagne noted that partnerships with like-minded entrepreneurs like Doug Cooper, owner of Provenance Commissary, have allowed him to collaborate and strengthen his business.

 

“Coffee shops are a very social business, and this experience has allowed me to meet so many great people,” said Lamontagne. “These relationships are mutually beneficial. In the case of Provenance [Commissary], Doug has taught me a great deal about wine and in return I’m able to offer him a unique venue for his wine-tasting events – the first of which sold out in six hours!”

Wine tasting event with Provenance Commissary

With so much interest in the first wine-tasting event, the two are planning to host more throughout the spring.

 

The Lone Wolf Café is looking forward to partnering with more Orillia businesses in the future. He supplies his coffee to The Common Stove and PICNIC, and Eclectic Café supplies Lone Wolf with local baked goods.

 

“Doing business in Orillia is great. I’ve met so many nice business owners,” said Lamontagne. “Even though we are competing, it’s a friendly competition where we support one another and partner together to make everyone better and better.”

 

To learn more about Lone Wolf Café and the After Dark Cocktail Lounge visit their website, thelonewolfcafe.ca.

 

To learn more about investment and business opportunities in Orillia, visit the City of Orillia Business Development website at businessinorillia.ca or contact the City’s Business Development Office at 705-325-4900 or edc@orillia.ca.

 

The My Main Street Local Business Accelerator Program, led by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO), has been designed to help drive business and restore vibrancy to local communities across southern Ontario in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the 2022 year, the City of Orillia is participating in this program to help grow existing businesses and bring new entrepreneurs to the Business Improvement Area (Downtown Orillia) through a dedicated Main Street Ambassador, a customized market research, data analysis, and non-repayable funding contributions for new and existing small businesses. To learn more about the My Main Street program, visit orillia.ca/mymainstreet.

 
 Eclectic Café Growing Once Again
July 12, 2022

The popular downtown Orillia eatery, Eclectic Café, will once again be expanding. Currently located at 39 Mississaga St. W., Eclectic Café is known for its delicious lunch menu and exceptional catering service. The business has recently expanded to take over approximately 1,000 sq. ft. of retail space next door at 37 Mississaga St. W. to allow them to increase their catering production as well as offer a dedicated retail space to showcase in-house products along with other local Ontario produced products that complement the Café's culinary selection.

 Melanie Robinson, Alana Bell and Mike Robinson of Eclectic Café

“Our retail presence allows us to offer those products six-to-seven days a week and offer good quality, locally sourced, delicious, savory and sweet food options to our growing community,” said Eclectic Café owner and head chef, Melanie Robinson. 

 

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eclectic Café tested a market-style set up on Saturdays in the café selling prepared foods. Robinson quickly noticed the prepared meals were incredibly popular. This demonstrated the need for a dedicated retail space for such a product in downtown Orillia. The idea was further re-enforced after looking at the café’s market research report provided by My Main Street

Baked goods from Eclectic Café 

The market research report helped Robinson, along with Eclectic Café partners, Mike Robinson and Alana Bell, to better understand the various demographics and motivations of their downtown clientele. Through this report, the three learned that their target group is open to a more diverse palate, value living a healthy lifestyle, and place an importance of local ingredients used within their foods, among many other things. However, these three statistics stuck out as they re-enforced the need for a space like this downtown Orillia, and clearly highlighted that their target group would value a specialty grocery store similar to the one they are creating through this expansion.     

 

With a lot of hard work on the application and a solid plan for using the funding, Eclectic Café has now been approved for one of 10 available My Main Street contributions. The owners will use the funding to help enhance their offerings within this new space. It will help with purchasing a display fridge for their ready-to-go meals, expand the current product line, and support marketing for the new space through both online and radio advertisements. In addition to addressing servicing gaps identified through the customized market research report, this business expansion helps fill a need for specialty food stores as identified in the City of Orillia Retail Mix Study

 

“The data has allowed us to look outside of regular clientele and typical advertising strategies to attract new customers,” said Robinson. “The opportunity to receive funding from My Main Street will make a world of difference for us coming out of two really long, hard years.”   

 

Throughout the years establishing the business, Robinson has also received business supports from both the City of Orillia and the Orillia Area Community Development Corporation (CDC).  

 

“The CDC has been instrumental in guidance, funding and generous support through their capacity grants,” Robinson said. “The City of Orillia has been very supportive and proactive in helping businesses in the downtown core throughout COVID-19.”  

Eclectic Café products

Robinson said she first decided to open the café in Orillia because, “Orillia is my hometown and I wanted to give back to my community and bring something different to the local scene.” She went on to say she made the right choice as throughout the years she has seen that Orillia is a small city that’s quickly growing.  

 

“The city has a small town feel with an incredibly supportive community for independent businesses,” said Robinson. 

Eclectic Café 

Eclectic Café has a loyal base of repeat customers who enjoy tasting all of the new seasonal menu items and has also experienced an increase in new foot traffic throughout the spring and summer as more individuals frequent the downtown streets.  

 

Robinson is excited to see what the future holds and the growth she and her partners will see not only within their business, but within Orillia as a whole.  

 

“We have lived in Orillia our entire lives and watched it grow,” Robinson said. “We are passionate about the beautiful place we live in and want to celebrate that in as many ways as we can.”  

 

To learn more about investment and business opportunities in Orillia, visit the City of Orillia Business Development website at businessinorillia.ca or contact the City’s Business Development Office at 705-325-4900 or edc@orillia.ca

Economic Developers Council of Ontario

The Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) is delivering the My Main Street, Local Business Accelerator program stream, which is supporting the revitalization of main street communities and provides non-repayable contributions for more than 650 local businesses across southern Ontario. The program focuses on creating and maintaining vibrant and inclusive local main streets while providing residents, new entrepreneurs, and existing businesses with economic opportunities in our communities.

During the 2022-2023, the City of Orillia is participating in the My Main Street Local Business Accelerator program to help grow existing businesses and bring new entrepreneurs to the Business Improvement Area (Downtown Orillia) through a dedicated Main Street Ambassador, a customized market research, data analysis, and non-repayable funding contributions for new and existing small businesses. To learn more about the Downtown Orillia My Main Street program, visit orillia.ca/mymainstreet. 

 

FedDev Ontario

For more than 12 years, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation, growth and job creation in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving productivity, growing revenues, creating jobs, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. Learn more about the impacts the Agency is having in southern Ontario by exploring our pivotal projects, our Southern Ontario Spotlight, and FedDev Ontario’s TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

My Main Street Business Accelerator Program News & Updates

Visit the Invest in Orillia Webpage


 

My Main Street logo   Economic Developers Council of Ontario logo

Funded by Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

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