Updated: Sep 16
Just 8,500 people live in my hometown Kapuskasing, Ontario. In the last 20 years, we’ve lost nearly 20% of our population.
Losing almost a fifth of our people has had devastating effects on our northern community. Local businesses are suffering. Families have to work harder to get by. But it wasn’t always this way. My parents told me that our local shopping district, the Circle, used to be bustling.
I decided I wanted to help. At 18 years old, I got a summer job with the Kapuskasing Business Improvement Area (BIA). I had one goal: to help our small businesses grow. I met with 52 small business owners to learn what makes their business unique. I documented our conversations in a video series.
Circle Town Square video series
We launched the project in September 2019. Check out the introductory video below:
I was blown away by the stories I heard. Every owner started their business to serve our community and support their family. I was touched by how hard people were willing to help Kapuskasing.
I learned that small business owners have to juggle many tasks: sales, hiring, human resources, finances, operations, customer relations, community involvement, and marketing.
I also learned that there was one thing that could benefit all business owners: increased foot traffic.
Using social media to generate awareness and foot traffic
After my interviews, I created a social media campaign using the 25 interview videos.
The results were amazing! The video campaign generated over 40,000 views. Foot traffic increased across the whole shopping district. Plus, owners had time to focus on serving their customers because I had taken digital marketing off their plates.
One of my favourite stories was from the local baker, Mr. Dubosq. You can see my video about La Boulangerie here:
Opening my Third Door
I’ll never forget how it felt when those business owners told me I had made their lives better. It felt amazing to support my community, the same way it had supported me my whole life.
I’m opening my Third Door to help small businesses grow. A Third Door Franchise enables me to open my first business, get marketing experience, and make a difference.
Want to work with me? Open your Third Door today: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Émilie Lebel
Émilie Lebel is an award-winning marketing student from Kapuskasing, Ontario. She is currently completing her fourth year at the University of Ottawa. She is a volunteer marketing director for CASCO, a student-run charity that raises money for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). Emilie participates in marketing case competitions and has won several podiums including Pitch Your Brand and Telfer Internal Case Competition. Émilie is fluent in English and French. Learn more: https://www.thirddoormarketing.com/emilie-lebel