‘ReDiscover BWG’ this spring with the Bradford Board of Trade

The Bradford Board of Trade is bringing “ReDiscover BWG” to the community from June 10 to 12 in an effort to drive support for local businesses

To help businesses get back on their feet and residents out and about in the community, the Bradford Board of Trade (BBT) will be hosting a “ReDiscover BWG” weekend from June 10 to 12.

It’s a weekend dedicated to showcasing businesses in Bradford and introducing residents to businesses they might not even know about that are in their own backyards.

There will be special offers at registered stores and restaurants and the BBT will be providing patrons with a map to help them navigate all the goods and services the town has to offer.

On Saturday, June 11, people will also be able to take part in an in-person vendor event on the BWG Library’s west lawn, featuring up to 40 local businesses.

Those who visit storefronts and vendor booths over the weekend are encouraged to post pictures using the hashtag #ReDiscoverBWG and will be entered in draws to win prizes.

This is the first event of its kind in Bradford West Gwillimbury, and it came together as a way for the BBT to continue to support local businesses. It’s a follow-up to the previous two initiatives they’ve run—BWG Takeout and Shop Local BWG.

“We all know the past two years have been really difficult for business owners,” said Jennifer Harrison, BBT President. “That makes these initiatives really important.

“BWG Takeout allowed us to engage with people as they posted about their takeout from local restaurants when they were closed to indoor dining. It was a way for us to facilitate the public helping out restaurants,” said Harrison.

“The Shop Local BWG campaign expanded from helping out restaurants to helping out all businesses. ReDiscover BWG happened out of those two initiatives but as those businesses have been able to open more extensively, what we want to do is get people out again and show consumers that those tried-and-true mom and pop shops and big businesses are still there,” Harrison said.

“We want to rally everyone to support those businesses once again.”

Using the template of the annual home show, the ReDiscover BWG weekend gives people the opportunity to not only support businesses but get outside and see their community after having so little to look forward to over the last two years.

“When we did the brainstorming about how we could support local businesses in the community one thing we thought about what what if we had a simple concept like the home show but brought it outdoors,” said local Freshii owner Salim Bardai, who is on the BBT Board of Directors and the lead for the event. “This way we can support everyone and be outside on a nice day and get everyone back together.”

The success of the previous two initiatives for supporting local and the reach social media provided through it has businesses, restaurants, vendors, and residents already excited for ReDiscover BWG.

“The previous events had a great reach, but they didn’t necessarily give people the ability to get out and be together,” said Harrison. “We’re hearing from people that they just want to leave their houses and support businesses.

“Everyone is really excited and social media has always been big but over the last couple of years, it’s become a primary way for people to connect. When they couldn’t leave their houses, that’s how people connected. It’s important to us because someone who does post a picture and use a hashtag will encourage others to visit that business,” said Harrison.

“It’s the instant recommendation,” said Bardai. “From our perspective, it’s also instant recognition, because from a business angle we want everyone knowing we have an operating business in Bradford, and they don’t have to travel elsewhere for what they want.”

With prizes on the line and plenty of businesses participating and offering specials, the BBT is hopeful the community will see just how much there is in Bradford for them to do.

“What’s great is that it has two parts to it. With the on-site booth vendor showcase for home-based businesses, online businesses, and businesses that don’t have a physical store, it gives them the ability to see the community,” said Harrison.

“The farmers’ market will be going on as well and it’s highly visible from Holland Street so people driving by will want to stop in. But the other part is with the map, it will list the physical businesses around town that are participating. This way when people download the map, they’ll see all these businesses in Bradford participating,” Harrison added.

Making Bradford a place to stay and shop locally is the goal of the weekend, and it lends well to providing those new to the area with an introduction to all the businesses and restaurants within the community.

“You get out of your comfort zone a little bit and go discover some businesses that you may not have been to in a long time, if ever,” said Harrison.

“Since the pandemic has started, there’s been an influx of new families that have moved into the area and either don’t know or haven’t been able to take in the full value of what Bradford has to offer,” Bardai said.

“When we talk to customers some of them will tell us they didn’t even know we were in town. A lot of people are so used to going to big central shopping centers like Upper Canada Mall or Vaughan Mills for their needs that they don’t really understand what Bradford has to offer,” said Bardai.

“When people drive through Bradford they realize, ‘oh my god, it’s grown so much, and we didn’t know this was here.’ What we want to do from a business perspective that I’m very excited about it is we’re going to be reaching out to a whole segment of the population that has moved into the Bradford West Gwillimbury area that don’t know about the businesses ‘existence.”

The BBT understands the role it plays in being leaders in the community and as such, they want to help consumers regain their confidence.

“We can understand as small business owners that people might be a little hesitant after the last few years to get out there and go into stores,” Harrison said. “We want to show the community these businesses are safe and it’s exciting for them to have people back in their stores shopping again, they miss seeing faces. It’s really important for the BBT to support that and get the public excited to explore and rediscover Bradford again.”

You can learn more about ReDiscover BWG here.

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