Media Release: COVID-19 Update: Huntsville joins Digital Mainstreet’s ShopHERE Program to Support Local Businesses

Posted On Tuesday July 14, 2020

(HUNTSVILLE, ON) To help support our local small businesses, the Town of Huntsville has joined the ShopHERE powered by Google program, with the goal of helping local businesses create or enhance their online presence.

The program offers local businesses and artists the opportunity to sell online. ShopHERE powered by Google, which started in the City of Toronto, helps independent businesses and artists build a digital presence and provide a new revenue stream during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In May, Google Canada announced a one-million-dollar investment to enable Digital Main Street to expand the program to municipalities across the country, offering more businesses and artists the opportunity to build their own online store.

Since opportunities afforded by the digital economy are often limited to people’s skillsets, Google’s investment will also help more small businesses and artists receive the digital skills training needed to participate in the digital economy.

The program is now available to small businesses in the Town of Huntsville. Local businesses and artists can apply for the program at www.digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere to get their online store built at no cost.

“Some local businesses do not have an online store or e-commerce as part of their strategic plan. Many rely on in store sales. By joining the ShopHERE program, the Town of Huntsville is providing another avenue for our local businesses to maintain revenue streams during these difficult economic circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I encourage our businesses to take advantage of this opportunity and sign up for the program,” says Huntsville Mayor Karin Terziano.

“Since Google began its business in Canada nearly twenty years ago, we’ve been focused on helping Canadian businesses of all sizes to unlock the prosperity of the internet,” says Sabrina Geremia, VP and Country Manager, Google Canada. “We remain optimistic and more determined than ever that technology is the toolkit for a world of opportunities. Our one-million-dollar investment will go towards expanding the ShopHERE program nationally, so we can help small businesses across Canada navigate the challenges ahead.”

“Main street businesses are facing unprecedented times due to COVID-19. They need to be able to sell online if they are going to survive and we are proud to expand the ShopHERE powered by Google program to help them achieve this. This program is critical in ensuring main streets can adapt and evolve during this crucial time.” - John Kiru, Executive Director, Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas.

Digital Main Street (DMS)is a program that helps main street businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, and a Digital Service Squad, a team of street-level team members who help main street businesses grow and manage their operations through technology. Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, MasterCard, Microsoft and Shopify.

The members of the Downtown Huntsville Business Improvement Area (BIA) have had access to the Muskoka–wide Digital Main Street squad that was offered through the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA). The local Digital Main Street squad has assisted numerous Downtown businesses throughout Muskoka with an assessment of their online presence and have offered suggestions for improvement.

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For more information, please contact:
Scott Ovell, Economic Development Officer
(705) 789-1751 ext. 3035
Scott.ovell@huntsville.ca