“We received over 80 nominations from the Oakville community, nominating small businesses that rapidly adapted and responded to the COVID-19 Pandemic” said Drew Redden, President & CEO of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce. “We were inspired to see so many businesses successfully pivot their operations. It was a tough decision for the judging committee, but we are pleased to announce the award recipients.”
Congratulations to Toraguchi Martial Arts, Focal Point Business Coaching – Ted Creighton, Kerr Street Cafe, Pad Print Extreme Inc., and Factory Tile Depot!
Each award recipient received a video, produced by OTBxAir, to showcase how they demonstrated resiliency during the pandemic lockdown and reopening. Each day this week, the videos were showcased on the Oakville Chamber’s social media channels and on Halton News.
Toraguchi Martial Arts
Toraguchi Martial Arts is a full-service Karate school (“dojo”) that caters to both children and adults and offers a breadth of martial arts programming, specializing in Japanese Goju Karate. Toraguchi Martial Arts demonstrated an unwavering commitment to thriving during the pandemic, from day one. The strategy they adopted was threefold: 1) bolstering their foundational operations; 2) rethinking any weak points in their operations; and 3) enhancing their client outreach and communication. They immediately launched an online presence, continuing to offer their regularly-scheduled classes virtually. They maintained a large number of their clients and even welcomed new ones, since the onset of the pandemic. Sport had become more challenging in a home environment, so they recorded curriculum for students to use at home. They continued with student testing virtually and personally delivered new Karate belts to students through safe porch drop-offs. They were diligent in their use of email and social media to communicate with families and created videos to convey the changes they implemented to keep everyone safe. They also did something unprecedented in the local sports community: Sensei Kenney conducted individual, online, progress checks with all active students and their families. These personalized meetings allowed them to check on the status of families to make sure that everyone was okay, to assess the Karate student’s progress and ability to use the online platform effectively, and to improve the personal connection with clients.
Focal Point Business Coaching
Ted Creighton is a business coach and trainer assisting medium to large businesses with growth. He helps committed business owners improve their overall profitability and scale their business without having to work longer hours or worry about whether they are on the right path. He does the analysis of all of the critical aspects of a business: the planning process, operations management, sales, marketing, products, people, processes, results, and key outputs and picks the areas where he can bring about the greatest financial impact the fastest. In the early days of COVID, Ted quickly organized a free online networking group with a colleague, that still runs to date. Ted continues to practice his craft while helping other businesses that join the online meeting. He continues to be in front of businesses that need his services or will refer him to people that do. Through networking, coaching, and skill development he helps these businesses stay in business. He provides the insight to keep business owners focused in turbulent times so they can reflect on their strategies for moving forward and staying relevant.
Kerr Street Café
Kerr Street Café is a bustling spot for breakfast and lunch, as well as special events and take away food, featuring Brothers Coffee Roasters. When it was announced that restaurants would only be permitted to offer take-out dining due to COVID-19, the café was packed with customers. The staff quickly cleared out the café and contemplated their next steps. Faced with perishable inventory, they quickly did what they do best – got cooking. The café already sold frozen foods, so they got busy filling the freezer and cleverly nicknamed the business Kerrb Street Café, immediately launching an extensive curbside pick up menu that grew to include pantry goods, beer, wine, and fresh produce as well as a program to feed local families facing food insecurity. Kerr Street Café joined forces with ArtHouse and Henderson Partners in order to keep some of the team employed, provide business to some of the suppliers also affected by restaurant closures, and to help feed families in need who had lost essential food programs with the closure of schools and after school programs. Through their joint fundraising initiative, they quickly started delivering meals 3 times a week to 154 individuals within the community facing food insecurity. Being highly creative and community-minded, the Kerr Street Cafe team also leveraged their devoted customer base by offering BBQ packages (for example Father’s Day BBQ Kit), a vast menu of delicious food items, as well as offerings from other local vendors.
Pad Print Extreme Inc.
Pad Print Extreme is a commercial printing and laser etching company that provides unparalleled service to end users, 3rd parties and companies from all sectors such as Baylis Medical, 3M Canada & Staples Promotions. Pad Print Extreme showed strength and resilience in many ways during the lockdown. The staff put their work ahead of themselves in order to help with many different urgent orders, such as medical devices for Baylis Medical, and the ventilator production for the Federal Government by way of CAE. They also provided laser cutting services at no charge for over 1,000 face shields for McMaster School of Medicine. In addition to the above, they used their laser cutting machine to create and manufacture “no-touch keys.” This impact has created work and pay for all the staff members, and allowed them to come back to work safely and permanently. It has also allowed them to join the fight against COVID-19 directly by the work they are doing with CAE for the ventilators that are being made in Canada for the Federal Government.
Factory Tile Depot
Factory Tile Depot operates three distinct divisions: 5 retail locations, a Builder Services Division, and an online division. They are a retailer, distributor, and installer of tile and associated materials. Their retail division completely shut down at the beginning of March, laying off 90% of their staff. They quickly pivoted to their digital division, opening up for the first time a Virtual Designer where clients could receive a similar experience of being in one of their showrooms with a designer, but now from home. Factory Tile Depot ramped up their digital marketing campaigns, providing an option for clients across the country to adopt this way of ordering tile online. They also took this opportunity, after 18 years, to strip the business right down and analyze structure, costs, accounting functions… everything! They opened back up with a very different company, leaner, in control of all costs, new ways to conduct business, a removed commission from our showrooms.