If you own a business in Woolwich, take your right hand, put it over your left shoulder, and give yourself a pat on the back. Then take the same hand, touch it to your forehead and salute the business owners who work in shops or office buildings near yours. You made it through the recession, and you are still standing.
This was the message that nearly 85 local business owners heard from Alan Quarry, chairman and CEO of Quarry Integrated Communications, the keynote speaker at the first annual Salute to Woolwich Business event.
Participants gathered at the Schoolhouse Theatre in St. Jacobs Wednesday evening, with businesspeople networking with other Woolwich business owners, elected officials, and senior staff from the Township of Woolwich over refreshments catered by the Stone Crock. A local business tradeshow was held on the lower level of the Schoolhouse Theatre, where businesses were able to rent a table to showcase their brand, products and services.
“We created this event in order to increase the profile of local businesses,” said Laurel Davies Snyder, Woolwich’s economic development and tourism officer, the event’s organizer. “People might have heard of a business in town, but not actually know what it is that they do – this is their time to really explain to the community what happens in their office or shop.”
As a lifetime area resident, Woolwich Mayor Bill Strauss has been involved with the business community for his entire career, noting that he is “very, very proud of all of our businesses, and this event is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for doing business in Woolwich and show you that we are here to help you and support you in your future growth.”
Having recently decided to move his business, which employs more than 100 people, from Waterloo to St. Jacobs – Quarry Integrated Communications will occupy much of the newly renovated Riverworks building by July 5 – Quarry told those in attendance that Woolwich is an ideal place for a business, old or new, to grow, due to the open minds of the people who live here.
Originating in K-W, Quarry now has offices in St. Jacobs, Toronto, Raleigh, NC, and San Jose, CA.
“Since the recession, it’s not just business as usual anymore – it’s business as unusual,” he explained. “We need to be working together – it’s ‘we-go,’ not ego.”
Quarry mentioned that consumers are looking for new and different things from the businesses they choose, and that those companies who can reinvent themselves are the ones who will do best.
“I have never met someone in the Woolwich business community who says ‘No, we can’t do that’ or ‘that’s not how we operate here. For new organizations, finding a place that is ready and willing to adapt and change, like Woolwich, is extremely important.”
While Davies-Snyder is still analyzing the results of this first outing, next year’s event has already been scheduled for May 11, 2011.