By Chad Ingram
Themes will be a major theme for a reawakened business association in Minden.
Merchants from the village’s downtown as well as business people from outside the core are banding together to revive the Minden Hills Business Association or MBA.
An inaugural meeting of the revitalized group took place at the Dominion Hotel Feb. 24 and included representation from a number of businesses including the Wild Swan B&B Re/Max Sassy Digs Ommmh Beauty Boutique Booth Street Projects Highlands Studio and Ink Works and Monk’s Funeral Home among others.
Also in attendance was Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin members of the Minden Promoters and downtown landlord and decorator Sinclair Russell.
The group is co-chaired by Dominion Hotel and Grill on the Gull owner Shawn Chamberlin and Molly McInerney of Molly’s Bistro Bakery and Mike McKeon of Up River Trading Co. has volunteered to act as treasurer.
Other attempts to revive a business association for Minden have fallen flat but with a number of new businesses setting up shop in the community in recent years Chamberlin believes now is the time.
“There is a lot of energy in the business community right now” he wrote in an email to the paper. “New stores have opened up with new owners. Investments are being made all the time in the business community. There are new businesses in our community. It’s a good time to get together. Some of us were talking about the fact that we tried to do too much in the past and I think many from the community were overwhelmed. This time we’ve decided the best strategy is the same as in eating an elephant – you can do it one bite at a time. Moving ahead we’ll be successful at a few ‘little’ things … one bite at a time.”
One of those things will be regular themed decorating of the community as suggested by Russell.
For March that theme will be Maple Magic and the downtown will be outfitted in maple-tree-tapping costume. March 26 will be Maple Magic Day with eateries encouraged to offer maple-infused items on their menus and an event for the evening is in the works.
Other suggestions were that merchants celebrate Minden’s 157th birthday on April 1 with festive trimmings and potentially a black fly theme for May.
The membership fee for businesses is to be kept reasonable. A rate of $10 per month has been suggested to help with signage advertising etc.
Membership is open all businesses in the township of Minden Hills and Chamberlin believes there can be mutual benefit for all as the community continues to grow and change.
The Beer Store for example will be moving from its long-time home along Water Street to Highway 35 this year.
“There will be a lot of enhancements to our community as we grow and develop” Chamberlin wrote. “We really have a great story to tell the public about the businesses in this community and it needs to be told. We can tell the story better together. There are great synergies to be had. I think every business association is different. In our case we’ll all benefit from the opportunity to build community awareness especially of events that we are running separately and together to leverage common themes. And there are a lot of bright minds in the business community that will help with future ideas.”
The group plans to meet on a quarterly basis. The next meeting of the MBA is scheduled for Wednesday April 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Dominion.