North Cariboo Community Futures recently brought in two retail consultants to work with Quesnel businesses.
Ten local businesses participated in the program, including one from West Quesnel and nine from the downtown area. The businesses attended a two-hour workshop on May 27, hosted by Heddy Bing of Urban Spaces Design in Vancouver and Jill McKnight of South Coast Casuals. Bing covered merchandising and window and store displays, while McKnight talked about how to grow their businesses.
Following the workshop, Bing took the business owners on a walk down Reid Street, where they discussed all of the window displays they saw. During the next few days, Bing and McKnight met with each business individually, spending two and half to three hours speaking with them and addressing their individual needs.
Greg Lawrence, the general manager of North Cariboo Community Futures, says they decided to bring in the consultants after meeting with the local business associations and asking what they needed.
“We have a program, the Community Futures in Quesnel along with the Community Futures in Williams Lake and Ashcroft, that we’ve partnered together on to access some money for the Wildfire Business Transition Program. So for all of the businesses in that region that were impacted in the 2017 wildfires, we have training dollars that are available.
“And so we had met with the [Quesnel] business associations and said ‘there’s some money available. What would you guys like to do with it?’”
After deciding to bring in the consultants, members of the Quesnel Downtown Association (QDA) put out the word and found other businesses to join in.
Donna Jacobsen, president of the QDA and co-owner of Spa Rivier, agrees the program was a great success.
“It was fantastic, and I haven’t talked to one merchant [who participated] who wasn’t happy and didn’t learn a lot.”
She added that she’s hoping it’s something they’ll be able to do again in the future.