ST. MARY’S – Honouring St. Mary’s entrepreneurs for their community-minded grit during the COVID-19 emergency will top the agenda at the 2021 Small Business Appreciation Night and Awards next week in Sherbrooke.
“The municipality feels that the hard work these businesses put forth, especially during the pandemic, should be admired and celebrated,” said District of Municipality of St Mary’s Economic Development Officer Marissa Jordan of the October 19 event. “They understand the needs of our residents and are a part of what makes our neighborhoods so great.”
Small Business Appreciation Night, hosted by municipal council and staff during Canada’s Small Business Week, has become a tradition in the municipality. “For the last number of years, we’ve been celebrating [it] as an opportunity to gather our businesses together to [recognize] their accomplishments,” Jordan said. “Our small businesses are extremely important to the municipality and help to shape and enhance our communities.”
While a recent Statistics Canada report indicates the pandemic has hit nation’s small business sector – which accounts for 98 per cent of all “employer” enterprises – especially hard, St. Mary’s privately-owned small firms – which number in the low hundreds and occupy a variety of resource, professional, small industrial and personal services sectors, according to the 2016 Canadian census – have continued to contribute to the community’s social fabric.
To help the area continue rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic and frame its economic agenda for years to come, council recently agreed to explore opportunities for establishing a new business trade group.
“A chamber of commerce would allow St. Mary’s businesses a collaborative and organized approach to further interests for the business community, including: networking, advertising, advocating, and planning,” Jordan said in August. “In the next year or so, the municipality will be exploring the idea.”
While next week’s event will be focused on “the celebration,” Jordan said “there will be an opportunity in the future for our businesses to gather again to gauge the interest in a potential board of trade in St. Mary’s.”
Small Business Appreciation Night 2021 will feature a guest speaker and present awards for Best New Business, Best Customer Service and Best Community Impact by “the company that’s truly making a difference in their community … taken positive action to invest on their community and sees social responsibility as an integral part of the business’ success.”
The event gets underway at the Sherbrooke Lion’s Hall 6:30 pm. A turkey supper and dessert will be served.
Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal