This is the time of year that seems like winter will never end. Since the rush of the holiday shoppers ended in January, and with various types of winter weather being heaped on us over and over again, it’s difficult for most to be motivated to spend much of their time outside.
Absent at a recent BIA meeting were the angry rants and finger-wagging at business leaders and city officials that one might have expected, given the looming major downtown reconstruction. Instead, the tone and atmosphere was mostly buoyant.
It’s a Monday, a few minutes before 10 am, and I’m standing outside the Bylaw Enforcement Office, where I’m to meet and then tag along with Wayne English.
As the church bells peal, Wayne, who’s been chatting with Bulk Food store-owner Dan Burns across the street, approaches, hand outstretched.
He’s hard to miss: his red golf shirt and baseball cap are emblazoned with “Parking Control” and “LDBIA Community Liaison,” and a chunky electronic device is strapped to his waist. Sunglasses, black shorts, and dusty and well-worn-in walking shoes complete his outfit.
On November 16, 2018, the Lindsay Downtown BIA launched the Holiday Passport program, to encourage both the local community and visitors to take advantage of everything downtown Lindsay has to offer during the holiday season.
Running for six weeks, the program drew to a close on December 20, with a draw for massive gift baskets. In the weeks before, the Lindsay Downtown BIA’s marketing committee pounded the downtown sidewalks, pitching the idea to the local merchants, who almost unanimously supported the idea.
Each merchant was provided with a stack of blank passports and a unique stamp, and the promotion kicked off the weekend of the Santa Claus parade – the unofficial start to the holiday season. Instantly appealing to the local residents, the passport provided an incentive for shopping local during the holiday season.