Helping kick off Small Business Week in Amherst on Monday, Mayor Robert Small said small businesses with less than 100 employees make up a significant portion of the town’s economic engine.
“Locally, Amherst has celebrated many successes this past year with respect to business growth with the addition of more than a dozen new businesses in our downtown area, new businesses and development in our South Albion/Robert Angus business area and further expansion and investment in our industrial park,” the mayor said. “Definitely, Amherst is where it is at, in terms of seeing success thanks to our business leaders.”
The mayor said Amherst is Number 1 of all towns in Nova Scotia for its fiscal management and is best in community spirit after winning the Lieutenant Governor’s Award this past summer.
Things such as that help make Amherst a place to live, work and establish a business, Mayor Small said.
As much as the town has enjoyed financial success, the mayor said there’s still lots of work to be done to create jobs and foster economic development. The mayor said the town has a role to play in creating a climate that’s favourable to business development and expansion. The town recently announced it was entering into a service sharing arrangement with the Municipality of Cumberland that will see it share economic development officers with Amherst community and economic development director looking after business recruitment and retention and the county’s officer looking after community development.
As well, the town recently hired a full-time recreation director that will free up Roger MacIsaac to focus more on economic development.
The mayor also celebrated the launch of Municipal Awareness Week that will include tours of town hall on Monday, skating at the Amherst Stadium on Tuesday, guided tours of the wastewater treatment plant on Wednesday and a municipal vehicle and equipment display at the Amherst Fire Department from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and the fire department’s open house that evening from 6 to 8 p.m.
Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce president Gladys Coish said her organization and the town are working together to promote business in the town.
“As leaders of business, service industries and government we join together to seize opportunities and speak as one unified voice for small business owners in our area,” Coish said. “We are working together to help local business cope with problems they face on a daily basis.”
Coish said chamber membership is continuing to grow and the organization is holding more programs for its members to help the business community thrive.
There is a full schedule of events for Small Business Week.
From 1 to 4 p.m. today there will be a mini-trade show at the fire department while the members appreciation banquet will be held at 6 p.m. with a turkey dinner featuring a history of Amherst by Leslie Childs as well as the presentation of appreciation certificates.
On Tuesday, the Springhill and Chamber of Commerce is hosting a business information breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre with speakers throughout the morning.
Debbie Peverill will be the featured speaker at an afternoon workshop at the CBDC office at 35 Church St. that will run from 1 to 4 p.m. She will speak about How to Pay the Least Amount of Income Tax and Stay Out of Jail.
Wednesday will feature a Lunch and Learn at NSCC Cumberland with Joann Dnistransky from noon to 1:30 p.m. Dnistransky will talk about improving your networking skills, engineering your elevator speech and making the most of your business contact potential.
Thursday will be a busy day with a workshop from 9 a.m. to noon at 35 Church St. The topic will be Understanding Your Business’ Financial Information and it will be presented by Tanya Hess of McIsaac Darragh.
That evening will be A Black Dress Event at Breakfast at Brittney’s. It’s a sold-out fundraising event and an evening of dining, entertainment, fashion and prizes for the ladies.
It will feature 17 waiters providing white glove service including members of the Amherst Fire Department, Mayor Robert Small and members of town council, the town’s new recreation director Bill Schurman and other dignitaries.
Mansour’s Men’s Wear is dressing the waiters with black vests, white shirts and pink bowties.
Barb Bowes will emcee the event and Tony and Susan Robichaud will provide dinner entertainment and Chelsea Atkinson and Drew Moore will also be performing.
There will be displays be Damaris Spa and Wellness Centre, while there will also be signature cocktails.
Another highlight will be a fashion show featuring Thirty Church, Dayle’s Department Store, Northern Reflections and San Lillies.
The event is being catered by Duncan’s Pub.
Small Business Week wraps up with an information session from 10 a.m. to noon featuring Kim Ripley talking about financial planning for women and Robert Bird talking about the provincial procurement policy.
Events will conclude with a drop-in social from 4 to 6 p.m. at Breakfast at Brittney’s at which time the winner of the Pitch It contest will be announced.