Since the beginning of January, people have been telling the Chambers of Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Muskoka Lakes what they found in Muskoka and where they found it. Community members have been sharing their favourite finds – from doughnuts at Gravenhurst Bakery to fashions from Overboard in Bala to used books at the Owl Pen in Bracebridge.
Watch for the Found It In Muskoka posts in January on the social media sites (Facebook and Instagram) of the Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Muskoka Lakes Chambers of Commerce. All you need to do is add your comment for a chance to win. Just write in the comments what you found, and where you found it in Bracebridge, Gravenhurst or Muskoka Lakes for your chance to win one of three $50 gift cards every week. At the end of January, your Found It comment will enter you in a draw for the grand prize: one of three $500 shopping sprees.
“We launched the Found It In Muskoka Campaign in November to spread the word on the amazing goods and services right around every corner in south Muskoka,” says Norah Fountain. “We’ve discovered so many incredible finds, and now it’s your chance to tell us what you’ve found.”
Fountain also wants people to know they don’t have to rush out and buy something new to comment on. “It could be something you bought in our community before,” she says. “We know people are supporting local businesses: we just want to encourage them to show everyone how and where they’re doing it to spread that local love even further.”
“Tell us about the Christmas presents you bought,” says Brenda Rhodes, executive director of the Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce. “Or what you are hoping to get for Valentine’s Day (and make sure your Valentine sees it). It’s all right here.”
“Winning a prize is great,” says Sandy Lockhart of the Gravenhurst Chamber referring to the weekly $50 draws and 3 x $500 grand prizes. “But we all win by shopping local. Each dollar spent locally has a huge impact on our economy.”
The Found It In Muskoka campaign includes your friends and neighbours on video talking about how important it is to look locally for goods and services – and how you might be surprised to find what’s right in your own backyard. You can check out the videos for yourself right here on YouTube. New videos go up almost daily.
An easy way to see the wide selection of goods and services that Muskoka has to offer is to visit FoundItInMuskoka.ca. It’s connected to ShopMuskokaLakes.ca, a cooperative, online community marketplace that provides a selling platform both for vendors who had no previous online shop presence, retailers already experienced in marketing their products online, and even those not interested in selling online.
“This is our little way of competing against giants like Amazon,” says Fountain. “It’s incredible what you can find. For example, I needed N-95 masks and I was able to buy them from Action First Aid on ShopMuskokaLakes.ca and have them shipped to my door in three days.”
Fountain says they’re still accepting local businesses onto the site, and the best part is, the Chamber is charging no marketing fees for businesses who join the site as part of the Found It In Muskoka campaign. “We couldn’t have done any of this without funding from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce”, adds Fountain. The Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Muskoka Lakes Chambers are all members of that Ontario Chamber network.