Puslinch councillor hopes to start program to help local businesses

PUSLINCH – As a business owner herself, Puslinch councillor Jessica Goyda feels for businesses in her municipality that have been affected by COVID-19.

With the blessing of council, she’s now trying to figure out the best way for the municipality to get involved.

She noticed that Centre Wellington Township has launched a website to encourage consumers to shop local and support small businesses by buying gift cards to use later.

“The gift cards help businesses now with cash flow and builds their customer base for later,” Goyda said in a phone interview on May 25.

“It got me thinking we could do something here.”

She’s having discussions with Centre Wellington, Minto and Wellington North, as they have each launched initiatives to support businesses in their own communities.

As well, Wellington County is offering low-interest loans to business owners through a partnership with the Community Futures Development Corporation, “and these programs are great,” Goyda said.

“I’m hoping to do something at the really local level.”

It’s early days for Goyda, who was given the green light to explore what can be done at Puslinch Township’s May 20 council meeting.

But she’s lining up meetings with neighbouring municipalities and talking to business owners to get a sense of what would help.

“I think consumers want to support local businesses, but they are not sure how. Businesses really contribute to the sense of community and they face so many challenges right now,” she said.

“I don’t have the answers yet, but I hope we can start something that’s meaningful and helpful.”

Anyone with ideas or questions is welcome to reach Goyda at jgoyda@puslinch.ca.