Open East Hants Day 2017 has come and gone. The event held on May 27 was a huge success by any measure. This year we had more businesses participate, we had more residents get out and explore and we had more buzz on our social media. We even made the 6pm news on CTV.

So how do we measure success? I go back to the original idea that turned in to Open East Hants Day. When the East Hants & Districts Chamber went through our strategic planning process a few years back we were trying to streamline and define what the Chamber needed to do to provide value to our members. The Think Local First committee grew out of that desire to keep more of our communities spending here at home. A small percentage increase in local spending has a huge impact on the community. It allows business owners to expand and to hire more workers; it allows them to donate more to local charities and to community organizations; and those workers are able to continue the benefits by spending those earnings in the community.

We have no scientific way to measure our success yet but anecdotally it is working. I try to visit local businesses on a monthly basis to make sure the Chamber is hearing regular feedback. The feedback that day and in the days since has been mostly positive. Business owners have an easier measure for determining the value of Open East Hants Day-Did they see new customers. Overwhelmingly the answer was yes. The hope is that by exposing what is available locally that more residents will choose to spend more of their dollars in East Hants.

The day was not over when we started discussing next year. It is important in the aftermath to discover what worked well and to find solutions for the challenges that always present. Some areas of opportunity from last year led to some very successful ventures this year. One particular area was food availability at the Pop Up Market held at the Ribahi Center in Enfield. Last year we had no food vendors but lots of hungry visitors. This year we had a nice mix of vendors to satisfy the visitors and other vendors. Everything from fish tacos from Susie and Louise to burgers and dogs from the Enfield Earthkeepers was available on site. Next year we are even going to have some sunshine and warmth.

We have also discovered that building fun and kids activities in to plans brings more families out. The crew at ProTX had a huge crowd drawn in by their bouncy monster truck. Some businesses benefited by proximity to popular places while others excelled because of the hard work they put in to promoting their event on social media. The key to acknowledge is that there is no one size fits all solution. The committee wants to hear from residents and businesses on what they liked and what they would suggest to improve the event for 2018.

One area of opportunity we have identified already is the Elmsdale Business Park. Lots of great businesses over there participated but did not see the same number of visitors as in the corridor. Can you tell us why? Did it need more promotion? What would draw you in to the park to explore all the great businesses there?

The Passport was a new addition and very popular. I think that will definitely be coming back for next year maybe with some tweaks to make it better. And we might have to make the draw date a little bigger so I can read it as well. Ooops. Do you have any suggestions on how that worked?

The Chamber would like to thank everyone who participated. We are proud of the work our committee did and thrilled with the feedback we have received. We strongly encourage you to take the time to provide us with your feedback both positive and negative. If there is something you did not like about it then please offer a suggestion to help us improve it. If you loved it then tell us. Send all comments to info@ehcc.ca or send us comments through our Facebook page. Follow us on social media so that you are up to date with all our future plans.

Stay tuned for updates coming soon on an event we are working on for fall. We are in planning stages for an event to be held in Gore in conjunction with Open Farm Day. This will be a new endeavor for us but something we hope will grow.

I encourage you to contact us and get involved. A strong Chamber helps build a stronger community. Our members are not only the local businesses you shop at but they are your neighbors. They sponsor your kid’s sports teams and donate to your fundraising events. They volunteer their time to most committees and groups in our community. Your support of them means our community will continue to grow and thrive and will allow more of our kids to stay in East Hants if they choose.

  • East Hants & Districts Chamber of Commerce