Doing Business: The Minto way

Town Treasurer Gord Duff offered the following information to questions re­lating to business in Minto.

What were the number of new businesses in the past year (increase or decrease over previous years)?

“This information is not formally tracked. We usually know when a new business opens and often pay them a welcome visit. When a business closes, there is often not announcement.  Based on anecdotal evidence, it appears that this past summer, several new businesses opened on our main streets and there are fewer vacancies.”

 Were there any major new businesses or industry closures over the past year.

“One large factory (Ebco-Tech) is closing at the end of this year.”

 Are any new businesses/industry negotiations in the works and what are the plans or process in place to attract in business and industry? 

“The Town of Minto was involved in a site selector exercise about one year age. We were fortunate enough to win the award for outstanding response to Investment Attraction Inquiry from the Economic Developers Council of Ontario. We attempt to have an adequate supply of industrial land. There is sufficient commercially-zoned space in all of our communities to meet the demand for these establishments. The town’s marketable properties are listed on several websites, including one dedicated solely to industrial land enquiries.”

Are there plans in the works by the municipality and/or economic committee to change zonings (ie: to increase BIA areas or the size of industrial commercial areas)?

“There are no plans to increase the zoned areas as we believe they are adequate.  There are frequently site-specific issues which do arise and are handled at that time.”

Do municipal business licenses still exist?

“There is a very limited number of businesses in Minto which are to be licensed.   These include taxis and transient vendors.”

Any restrictions because of federal or provincial legislation? 

“Minto of course is governed by the same rules and regulations in place throughout Ontario. The most significant pieces of legislation related to industrial land relate to the installation of services. Ministry of Environment Certificates of Approval are usually required to install water and sanitary services. Depending upon the size of the development there may be federal and/or provincial environmental assessments required.

Additional Website Information

In addition to Duff’s comments, Minto’s website promotes a number of economic development aspects, from business retention and expansion to main street revitalization.

The website also includes links to the community profile generated by the Saugeen Economic Development Corporation which gives indications of labour force according to industry, gender, salary ranges for specific occupations, a list of major employers.

Business Bulletin Newsletter

The Minto Business Bulletin is a newly created Newsletter that is a result of the Business Retention and  Expansion project that was undertaken in 2007.

The intent is to update residents on what’s happening in the Minto business community as well as to get valuable information about organizations, funding, programs, etc. that can help businesses succeed.

Corporate Call Program

Minto’s Corporate Call Program is to express to each company their importance in the community, learn more about the business and to offer  services ensuring that any challenges they may be experiencing are addressed.

Visits include introductions of both town and company representatives, the purpose of the program and a discussion about the company, its history operations etc.

If possible there are also tours of the facilities.

Some of the businesses which have taken part in the corporate call program include: Bosman Home Front, Cargill AgHorizons, Harriston Motors and Wightman Telecom.

Industrial Parks

The Town of Minto has over 100 acres of industrial land for sale, located in the Palmerston and Harriston Industrial Parks.

Highlights include:

– fully serviced industrial land;

– large contiguous parcels up to 50 acres;

– lot sizes starting at one acre;

– good access to southwestern Ontario market;

– 40 minutes north of Guelph; and

– lots starting at $15,000 per acre.

For more information visit the economic development site at

Economic Development Projects

One of Minto’s major projects at the moment is its Main Street Revitalization Initiative.

The initiative is a downtown revitalization strategy based on the Main Street Approach, developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, DC.  It is a community-driven, comprehensive methodology used to revitalize older, traditional business districts.

The approach advocates a return to community self-reliance, local empowerment and the rebuilding of traditional commercial districts based on their unique assets: distinctive architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment, personal service, local ownership and a sense of community.

The Main Street Four-Point Approach is a comprehensive strategy that is tailored to meet local needs and opportunities.

Customer Origin Survey and Trade Area Analysis

The customer origin survey and trade area analysis provides information about the size and composition of the local market.

The customer origin survey is used to collect information to determine where downtown shoppers live. The trade area analysis identifies characteristics of potential downtown consumers.

Customer Origin Surveys were conducted in Clifford, Harriston and Palmerston during the month of June.

Resident Survey Results

The resident survey collects information on the attitudes and opinions of community residents about the downtown. The survey can measure current shopping patterns, retail and service needs, and residents’ perceptions of the downtown. A greater understanding of residents’ opinions about the downtown as well as their hopes for the future, can help build a downtown that residents are proud of, enjoy, and support as customers.

Minto residents completed the survey in February 2008.