The Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce just held their first official regional BIZ Walk last week (February 16-18). It was a resounding SUCCESS! So far this is the BIGGEST, most comprehensive, BIZ Walk to date in BC.
“Our local business communities are diverse and vibrant. Our energetic WWS walkers were delighted to be welcomed so warmly. It’s a WIN-WIN for all involved as it is an excellent opportunity to establish new and ongoing conversations. With active listening we get an accurate representation of the “business pulse” in our region. We greatly appreciate the support of the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation.” - Robynne Shaw, President of Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
The 5-10 minute visits included a simple 4 question survey that identified common themes for action and the opportunities and challenges each business experiences. From the visits, we will extract the meaningful data into information specific to our community. This data will be managed carefully because confidentiality is vital to all business owners.
There were about 55 volunteers putting their best feet forward on 27 routes or “walkabouts” over 3 full days into about 650 storefront businesses. We also hosted special coffee meetings each day for home-based businesses. McDonalds supplied fresh hot coffee and delicious muffins each day and the Community Coastal Credit Union provided each WWS team member with pedometers.
The WWS teams of 2 -3 walkers included local officials and volunteers, taking a total of approximately 147,000 steps equaling 114 kilometers, with the weather only getting our teams’ feet wet just ever so slightly. A 65% saturation return rate of the 4 question survey was also achieved. That’s quite an accomplishment! The large geographic area covered included Parksville, Area E – Nanoose, Area F – Coombs, Errington, Hilliers and Area G – French Creek, Englishman River. From the Chamber office each day and back we tracked over 250 kilometers for all WWS teams.
“The campaign roll-out, volunteer coordination, administration and results of this BIZ Walk has exceeded our expectations. We are “over the moon” with the positive reaction we received. The enthusiastic WWS walkers had FUN on their walkabouts and were thrilled to part of something so dynamic.” - Kim Burden, Executive Director, Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce
This special project is funded by the Province of British Columbia’s Employment Program, the Government of Canada, through the Labour Market Development Agreement, and the Regional District of Nanaimo.
The Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce will host a BIG Thank You event to unveil the report and share the results in May.(Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce "Walk on the Wild Side" BIZ Walkers on Thursday February 18. All ready and set to go in the morning on their "walkabouts" in our local business communities in Nanoose, Parksville, Errington, Coombs & Hilliers.)