Ladysmith Downtown Business Association will be all ears

The Ladysmith Downtown Business Association wants its members to speak up so it can have a strong voice.

The Ladysmith Downtown Business Association wants its members to speak up so it can have a strong voice.

As a new year begins, the association is spreading the message that it is open and eager to hear what members have to say, president Jenna Forster explained during the LDBA’s annual general meeting Jan. 19.

In the past year, the LDBA has done a lot of foundational work — it became a society thanks to a lot of hard work by Tammy Leslie, and it developed policies and procedures, explained Forster.

Moving forward, one of the things the LDBA will do is look at what its district is and what it’s going to cover and whether or not to expand it.

“Local business encompasses a lot within the boundaries,” said Forster. “We’re looking to be a resource for local businesses; we’re looking to be a support for local businesses.”

Forster is confident about the future of the LDBA, which currently has 87 members.

“We believe that the LDBA is a growing force,” she said. “We are very fortunate to have a team of directors that are extremely passionate about Ladysmith, about Ladysmith as a community and about business in Ladysmith and what we can do to support that. It’s taking that passion and directing it somewhere, so we’ve all worked really hard on that. It’s been quite a successful year. Our membership number is down, but I think it’s healthy.”

Moving forward, the LDBA will be looking at how it hears its members’ voices and at different ways of collecting input so it can serve its members better.

“When we can have a stronger voice, we can make change,” said Forster, using the town’s new policy on filming in Ladysmith, which was developed after hearing from the LDBA about challenges some businesses faced while filming was taking place, as an example.

The LDBA is partnering with the Chamber of Commerce and the Town  of Ladysmith on the 10 per cent shift initiative, and this will be a major focus in 2012.

The initiative, which was launched in early December, encourages people to shift 10 per cent of their current spending to local businesses.

When dollars are spent at local independents, up to three times as much money stays locally, and since local independents are much more likely to keep the money circulating in the local economy, the economic impact multiplies dramatically, according to the LDBA.