by Deron Johnston

Well, it appears that Spring may finally have arrived. One of the sure signs of Spring is the arrival of the Easter Bunny Hop in Downtown Kemptville. This year’s Hop was described by one of the participating businesses as “the most people we’ve ever seen for one of these events”. The Easter Bunny Hop is a special event that was held on Saturday, April 13, where over twenty businesses in the Downtown BIA footprint opened their doors to visitors and gave out treats, hosted creative activities, and had special offers and giveaways. By several accounts, it was estimated that approximately 400 people came through Downtown Kemptville to participate in the Hop and explore the area. Thanks to all of the sponsors, participating businesses and the volunteers, including the BIA Events Committee, who put in a lot of work to make this event so successful.

This year, the BIA is once again going to offer a special draw of two VIP tickets to the Kemptville Live Music Festival, happening July 18-21 at the Kemptville Campus. A special passport program is being developed to add more value to the contest for participating sponsors and BIA family members. Watch for more details coming out in May. The lineup for this year’s festival looks like another great one!

The BIA Board of Management is happy to let you know that we are almost ready to roll out the Digital Service Squad program. The program was developed by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) in cooperation with OMAFRA. The Old Town Kemptville BIA received a grant that will pay for the hiring of someone on a short-term contract to go around to individual members to assess the needs of the business and then provide advice on how the business can increase their online digital presence. This consultation and advice will be a free service provided through this Digital Service Squad program. So, Downtown Kemptville family members, watch for more information coming out soon and expect to see someone show up at your door soon to talk “digital”!

Recently, as Executive Director, I attended the OBIAA Annual Conference, which was held in Ottawa this year. It was a full three days of workshops, breakout learning sessions, peer-to-peer sessions and daily keynote speakers. A wide range of topics were covered including ones like: BIA expansion, effective social marketing, creating and organizing impactful events and parking challenges. In my report submitted to the Board about the conference, I wrote that I found the most beneficial part of the conference was the peer-to-peer sessions. I was both relieved and surprised to hear that no matter what the size or where it was located, all BIAs seem to have similar challenges around parking, volunteer recruitment, expansion, member engagement and property standards.

The BIA has recently been working with the Municipality of North Grenville to simplify how we communicate as a BIA. We now have a municipal email address, [email protected], and a municipal phone number so that people can now call us. The phone number is 613-258-9569 ext. 401. This is exciting for us, as we’ve never had a phone number for the BIA before. Thanks again to the Municipality of North Grenville for their partnership on this.

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