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2020 Home Show and Artisan Market cancelled due to COVID-19

October 16, 2020   ·   0 Comments

It has been a year of cancellations for most organizations in New Tecumseth, including the Tottenham Beeton District Chamber of Commerce (TBDCC).

The 2020 Home Show and Artisan Market, which was rescheduled for October 24 instead of March, was again cancelled in late September due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases being recorded in Ontario.

“We didn’t want to outright cancel in March, not knowing what the future holds, so we just postponed and said we’re going to do our best to reschedule,” said TBDCC Acting President Robyn Caruana.

“We did reschedule for October 24 and almost everybody was on board for going ahead… we even had a waiting list this year, like it was going to be huge.”

“Unfortunately, just with COVID, there’s no way we could manage it.”

The large interest by vendors in the event was likely due to the many other cancellations for similar events throughout the year, Caruana noted.

She said March is generally a great time for the TBDCC to host a Home Show and Artisan Market, as it gives contractors in particular a great opportunity to display their work and find clients for the construction season.

“It is really a great marketing type of event, but also networking as well,” Caruana noted.

The Chamber hopes the Home Show and Artisan Market can return next spring but will wait to see what the public health restrictions are for gatherings at that time.

The Chamber has been heavily impacted by COVID-19 in terms of fundraising and bringing in a strong revenue stream, but not very much money has been going out as well, which has helped to balance things out, said Caruana.

The TBDCC also laid off its office administrator when the pandemic broke out to cut costs.

“We’re pretty status quo, we’re doing what we can to support our members, promoting what they do have going on,” Caruana explained.

Other events the Chamber has had to cancel include its artisan markets at Keogh Park that typically run in conjunction with Music in the Park.

“We really just wanted to make sure everybody was safe and we were cautious about bringing in vendors and the public, just trying to be as responsible as possible,” Caruana said.

Monthly Chamber Connections meetings were also cancelled, which provided members with the opportunity to network. Caruana said she hopes to have them set up online by the end of October so they can continue during the pandemic.

In-person meetings at the TBDCC were cancelled as well and reformatted to take place online.

Its Annual General Meeting was ready to go last month at the Woodington Lake Golf Club, which would have been the first time the Chamber met in person since February, but it too was cancelled due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

“The day before the event we switched it to virtual… so that was disappointing because it really would have been our first chance to see everybody,” Caruana told The Times.

“We had it all planned out, safely, socially distanced, the whole gambit, but there were just too many people that were concerned about getting together in-person.”

Caruana stressed that now more than ever it is essential to support the local business community to ensure they can survive through the pandemic.

“I think it’s going to be a huge responsibility of our community to shop local and to help our businesses stay afloat, especially during the Christmas season,” she said.

“If the pandemic gets to that point again where things are shutting down and we’re back to the curbside pickup, we still need to support local. There was a lot of online shopping during COVID, which is a great way to stop the spread; however, we need to online shop still for our local businesses.”

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


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