Small businesses have a big impact on their community
Rogers Business is celebrating small businesses with a collection of insightful interviews from owners across Canada. In the new Spotlight on Business hub, entrepreneurs from across industries are sharing their stories, lessons and tips to help inspire others starting their own businesses and to recognize the role of the community in their success. This launch comes shortly after Rogers pledged a commitment to small businesses to invest $10M in advertising and tools to help entrepreneurs grow.
Nationally, small businesses employ almost two-thirds of the total labour force1 in every industry from retail to recreation. This includes Calgary-based Barre Belle, a fitness community run by two dance-enthusiasts with studios across the country. Originally relying on word-of-mouth, the duo expanded their advertising and online presence during the pandemic and grew their audience. “One good lesson COVID taught me was that the bad times pass, but the good times pass too,” says co-founder Kristi Stuart. “So really enjoy them when they’re there. Take time to enjoy what you’ve accomplished.”
A key part of both recovery and ongoing success for many has been their passion for business. That’s the case for brothers Marco and Danil who run Fratellis, a salon in Thornhill, Ontario. “When you run a small business, you’re your best product,” says Marco. “That’s why we go the extra mile and get personal with our customers. We want to be a place that people can feel happy, talk to us, and leave feeling like they got a nice break from their lives.”
Small businesses are the heart of their community, creating a space for gathering and for some, belonging. Married couple Greg and Simon opened The Witty & Co, a modern-style general store, in Cambridge after leaving busy corporate jobs. The pair were quickly and enthusiastically embraced by the community, a feat they never imagined possible. “Opening up a business where we’re openly gay in a small town in Ontario. Growing up, it just didn’t exist,” explains Simon, who often receives words of thanks and grateful hugs from patrons. Greg echoes the sentiment. “Spending a Saturday on the sales floor is my favourite time of the week.”
Across the country, the economic impact of these businesses is significant. SMEs contribute almost 50% to the GDP2. Of course, owners feel the effects of their work on a personal level every day. Sugar Daddies Bakery owners Greg and David create tasty desserts with healthy ingredients and often receive heartful compliments from customers with diet restrictions. “They get to tell me about how we’ve helped get them through diabetes or reverse some of their medications,” says Greg. “That, to us, is the reason why we do this.”
Every entrepreneur has their own unique story of success, impact, and resilience. As a strong supporter of small businesses across the country, Rogers Business is proud to serve these organizations as they continue to grow. Steps towards digitization and innovative communication help streamline processes and simplify tasks, allowing for more time spent on what’s really important – their customers.
Keep following the Spotlight on Business blog for more stories from Canada’s fascinating and inspiring entrepreneurs.