Town optimistic for local recovery post-pandemic

·3 min read

The Town of Strathmore is optimistic about its local economic development for the latter half of the year, based on the mid-year economic development report presented to council last week.

According to Economic Development Coordinator Kristen Shima, in talking to local businesses, locals are overall proud of the support generated within the community and looking forward to getting back on their feet.

“The local business sector and economy is rebuilding with a strong appetite for recovery,” she said.

“With Stage 3, the local businesses are starting to build momentum with rehiring staff, repositioning product and services, and building marketing [and] sales capacity.”

In developing the report, Shima made 230 business visitations to gauge local impacts, and overall how people are faring post-pandemic.

Highlights from her report to council included mentions of activating a business hotline on the town website, launching a monthly business newsletter for active business license holders, the June hiring fair which saw 170 applicants in attendance, and the Canada Day market event, among others.

Shima explained her business visitations generated general feedback, which was used to develop the short-term plan for the remainder of 2021 and will be reviewed to develop a longer-term plan for 2022.

“A Long-Term Economic Strategy will be developed with business [and] community engagement and council-led development to plan, execute and deliver strategies and initiatives,” she said.

“Having a well-defined, long-term economic strategy that involves our entire local community helps to unite all of Strathmore.”

Mayor Pat Fule also expressed optimism regarding the report, stating that overall, 2021 has already been a dramatically better year for the town than the previous year.

“I think there’s a lot of optimism and I think many municipalities in Alberta have weathered the storm … the worst is over, we’re coming through the COVID-19 restrictions, and we’re looking ahead to some good things,” he said.

According to the report, the town’s recovery plan included four “pillars” of which local recovery will be based around. These include external marketing and tourism development, business engagement and support, policy development, and community engagement.

As part of the external marketing segment, the town is working on significant rebranding efforts.

“As a council, we’ve been looking at rebranding and looking at a vision for the town and there’s been a real push to try to create something that will stand out as far as— what ‘what does Strathmore mean, what is our brand? What is our logo, what are we trying to look [at] as a vision?’” explained Fule.

“We want to be part of the excitement of moving Strathmore into the future, but still honoring the legacy of the past, and still looking at how to take farming and ranching into the future.”

Fule added the town has been consulting with former MLA Doug Griffith to develop the rebrand, and thus far, no additional resources have been requested to be dedicated to the project from the town’s budget.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times

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