• Rob Hornberger

Town council urged to hire tourism promotion officer

Small business owners say a piece of the economic development puzzle is missing

'One-stop shop' would provide tourism information, help businesses tap into COVID relief programs, council told.

A group of local small business owners is urging the town to hire a tourism promotion officer.

The group, represented by Heather Brown, co-owner of The Main, Dennis Rogers, co-owner of Green Heart Kitchens and Jennifer Flynn, general manager of the Grove Hotel, told town council there is a need for a centralized body to promote local tourism, but also collect information about what federal and provincial programs are available to help local business survive during the current COVID-19 shutdowns in Windsor and Essex County.

“Having a one-stop shop when a local business or guest that we want to come back to our town can find out what’s happening in our community … we’re missing that tourism piece,” Brown said.

Rogers said not all businesses are part of the Business Improvement Association (BIA) and even some BIA members are not aware of the federal and provincial programs to help small businesses.

“This is another opportunity for us to have a one-stop shopping tourism person to drive that ship and lead the communication for that.”

“This is another opportunity for us to have a one-stop shopping tourism person to drive that ship and lead the communication for that,” Rogers said.

“Our ask is for increased support, our ask is for increased communications and our ask, most importantly, is your actions,” he said.

Coun. Larry Patterson spoke out against big box stores like Walmart and Costco that are allowed to stay open while small businesses in Kingsville must stay closed under the current shutdown orders for Windsor and Essex County.

He said it was unfair.

‘Everything our small business are required to do, from the time the customer enters the door, things like cleaning that pen … the disinfectant of the hands, noting the individual’s phone number. The quality of service when somebody comes to your table, everybody is in masks, it seems like you’re going into a whole different world,” he said.

“You’re treated like family … I will give you my word I will work as hard a we can against this two-tiered system.”

Santos said council is considering its draft budget for next year and one of the proposals is to hire an economic development officer who would deal with tourism development.

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