The Tavistock Chamber of Commerce is looking for new members as the small but growing East Zorra-Tavistock town looks to add recreation and commercial options.
President Andrew Raymer said there are many benefits to becoming a member. “The biggest advantage is to help improve our business community. We have networking events that we normally run when there is no COVID-19. The three or four events we have each year certainly benefit our members.” He added that with the local membership comes entry into the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “There are significant insurance benefits, and the provincial body offers a great deal of business support and many resources for business owners. If our members have questions, they have a large support department that is there to help out.”
Andrew said their Christmas voucher giveaway has been a tremendous success, an event that has local businesses give away several vouchers to draw winners. “The Christmas event is by far our biggest. In the past, we did do a summer sidewalk sale but because of the pandemic, we had to cancel it last year. We will try and run something else when things come back to normal.” He added the Chamber offers other events for members throughout the year. “The annual meeting is done at a golf tournament which is always a big draw, and we have a Christmas dinner with a guest speaker annually. There are a lot of networking opportunities.”
The Chamber was able to develop a new website recently thanks to a grant from The Oxford Economic Stimulus Fund through Community Futures Oxford. “Our website was something new we developed in the last year just to try and help draw more awareness around the organization,” said Andrew. The money also helped pay for new bicycle racks seen on downtown streets.
From a development standpoint, Tavistock has been blessed with a substantial residential boom but the commercial side has been a struggle. “There really isn’t much commercial space available in Tavistock so how do we attract business without it?” said Andrew.
A recent community survey showed the number one want of many Tavistock residents was a bar/restaurant with a patio. Andrew said number two was an interesting choice. “They want recreation. They want things to do and park development. I wasn’t expecting it, but it really helps get people out of their homes, take the family out to a park and maybe then they stop for ice cream before they come home so it helps everyone.”
The Township is currently working on a Parks and Recreation Master Plan. A consultant is currently in stage one of the project, collecting background information and research. More details will be announced on the East Zorra-Tavistock website. Raymer said it’s much needed. “You think about all of these new subdivisions, and they all have greenspace which hopefully can be developed into recreation activities people are asking for.” There has been a great deal of conversation about a splash or spray pad in Tavistock, something Raymer said the Chamber supports. “It would definitely benefit our downtown businesses, but it also requires $150,000 dollars of money that needs to be raised in the community first so it’s a big undertaking.”
For more information on the Tavistock Chamber of Commerce, go to https://tavistockchamber.com/