One of Inspiring Innisfil’s objectives is to support and strengthen existing local businesses. A free online Business and Community Directory sponsored by the Town of Innisfil was launched in September as part of that effort. More than 1,200 Innisfil businesses and organizations (including Our Innisfil) setup their own profiles in the first month or so. But as I made my way around retail shops at Cookstown’s Light the Night event in November, I was surprised that several business owners I spoke to were unaware of the directory, or had not taken advantage of this opportunity. My guess is that even fewer Innisfil shoppers know that this search tool exists. They should because …
- It’s a useful way for Innisifl residents to find and support local providers of products and services. The Directory is solely for Innisfil-based businesses and organizations.
- It’s ideal for Innisifl retailers and home-based businesses because a basic online profile listing is free but includes a business description, full contact information, a web link, a map locator, and optional logo and photo.
- It’s better than a conventional phone book because it’s more complete and up-to-date. Businesses and organizations can update their contact information and descriptive details anytime. In fact, the more frequently the listing is kept current, the higher the listing appears in a search.
But the searchable directory is only as good as the listings provided, which is why all Innisfil businesses and organizations should participate. There are some weaknesses too. I noticed when doing a search that many businesses I viewed failed to include a helpful description of their business. I was looking for “computer service” but the directory showed me everything with “service” in the name – from ‘counselling service’ to ‘police service’. So you have to think carefully about the search terms to get the best result. And Innisfil businesses are losing out when they don’t add a complete overview of their services.
If, like me, you feel some revulsion for the consumer excess of Black Friday mania, an anonymous suggestion has been circulating around the internet, one that I thought was appropriate for this Christmas season …
“How about gift certificates from your local hair salon or barber? Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement. Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, [local] detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates. … Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like their driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course. There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint? How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by [a local] working guy? Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. My computer could use a tune-up, and I know I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running…”
You get the idea. All of these suggested gifts are available from Innisfil businesses. Give the Innisfil Business and Community Directory a try, whatever you’re looking for. Click on the button link on the Town of Innisfil website or use the link above. And if you’re operating a business in Innisfil and would like more customers, make sure you’re using all of the free resources available online.