Editorial – Dress for success to boost business

Richard Froese

Many small businesses have struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have closed or become home-based businesses.
Business owners are looking for innovative ways to lure and attract customers to boost their business. One local municipality has started a program to provide money to businesses to upgrade their premises.
Big Lakes County awarded its first five grants in its new Business Refurbishment Grant Program. It’s an incentive for businesses to give their building a face lift or a makeover.
Dress for success applies to both the staff and the business atmosphere.
The program responds to a number of concerns stated in a visitor-friendly assessment in 2019.
Many business premises in Big Lakes and the Town of High Prairie were fairly decrepit and in need of some tender loving care, the survey found.
As small businesses look for ways to rebound from the slump in the COVID pandemic, a grant program is an excellent way to encourage business owners to spruce up their stores. Knowing they may not have to foot the whole bill for the work, business owners know there are other sources of funding.
A good first-impression is essential to welcome and invite new customers and tourists.
As the saying goes, a good book is known by its cover.
When a business has an appealing storefront, customers can expect high-quality services and products inside.
It’s all about image and pride.
The appearance of a business also reflects on the community and municipality. Not many people want to go into a business in a rundown building.
Many municipalities have similar programs to give businesses incentives to beautify their buildings.
When business owners or organizations consider upgrading commercial buildings, they often think about downtown revitalization projects.
But that is usually only possible with provincial or federal grant programs for major projects that enhance other streetscape such as decorative sidewalks, benches, planters, trees that commonly follow a theme that relates to local history or feature characteristic of the area.
However, those specialized grants are far and few between.
Big Lakes offered a total of $10,000 in the first year of the program, it has quickly become popular. A total of 17 businesses in the county applied for funding.
Without the grant, many or most of the businesses may not have even considered upgrading their premises.
Demand for the grant will grow as people see the benefits of the funding to the businesses to dress up their premises that attract local shoppers and tourists who will spread the news about the beautiful businesses in the region to boost the economy.

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