By Becky Clark
On Monday, March 19th members of the Thorndale business community attended the annual I Love Thorndale (ILT) Business Directory meeting. ILT provided a review of the various marketing tactics and community engagement strategies that have been employed over the past year, including but not limited to new A-Frame “Love Local/Featured Business” signs, business support decals, the Love Local Campaign and more. The most notable community engagement events this past year were the annual collaborative Winter Carnival and Thorndale’s 160th birthday event that was held in July. Some new events and activities were also touched upon, including the Pumpkin Retirement party which was co-hosted by Mount Olivet Lodge # 300. At the 160th annual Thorndale Fall Fair, ILT facilitators, Becky Clark & Arden McClean’s community building work was recognized by the Thorndale Agricultural Society presenting them with the “Spirit Award.”
At the meeting, ILT also touched upon their previous week’s strategic planning meeting. At that meeting, goals and strategies were discussed (plan yet to be finalized). One common theme that kept emerging was the need to improve communication and planning between the community and Thames Centre council, and how to develop a more strategic partnership with staff & council to work more efficiently and effectively; supporting one another.
As the work of ILT continues to grow and evolve, as does the business directory. May 1st commences the 4th year for the ‘homegrown’ business directory, with some new initiatives. One initiative is working with West Nissouri Public School by adding a local gift card fundraiser component to the existing “big box store” gift card fundraiser. ILT is volunteer run, striving to create awareness for local businesses. Facilitators are excited for this new opportunity within the school to make local businesses more visible and easier to support, and also have some other tweaks & changes in store for the directory packages. Businesses listed on the ILT directory pay an annual subscription fee, which helps support the work of ILT in the community of Thorndale, as well as promoting their business through the network. Those who have been involved with the directory this past year can expect an invitation to renew their membership and review new packages in the next week. Without the support of our business community, and the many professionals that offer in kind support, the ILT organization would not be able to do all that it does. Visit http://www.ilovethorndale.ca/businesses to see the more than 70 businesses listed and consider jumping on the love local bandwagon!