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Every Business in Chatham-Kent is in the Tourism Business

It has been a banner start to the summer thanks to a great deal of tourism activity including the exceptional Retrofest and RM events, the return of the Festival of Nations, and a wealth of other activities across the region. All of these activities have meant the opportunity for more visitors to come to Chatham-Kent and for businesses to take advantage of the increase in tourism activity.

The proof, however, is in the pudding as they say. In this case, the proof is no further then when Economic Development staff stopped one Saturday afternoon to have a discussion with a family of five from Bowmanville who came to visit relatives in Blenheim. We spoke with them as they were leaving Serena’s Ladies Wear in Blenheim and asked why they had chosen that store to stop and shop.

“I saw the window display that had this cute top so I decided to go in and have a look,” said Tammy Draband. “It’s a lovely store that has both designer clothing and also some very affordable options as well. I bought two tops and a bathing suit.”

Tammy added, “I guess that’s the power of a good window display. It got me to stop and pick up a few things.”

“This family’s experience is exactly the type of interaction that we are hoping to help businesses become even more prepared for. It speaks to the value of always having a marketing message that connects with your customers,” said Andrew Tompsett, Marketing and Communications Officer with Chatham-Kent Economic Development. “It’s why we have been working to provide assistance with business planning, education and training, and promoting funding options such as the Downtown and Community Improvement Programs to help revitalize business cores.”

“It’s important that businesses know that they have access to a group of expert Economic Development Officers who are available to help them find solutions and also new opportunities for growth,” added Tompsett.

In mid-June, Chatham-Kent Economic Development held an education session called Tourism-Ready Business Overdrive event, which featured a discussion from Chatham-Kent Tourism Development, Community Attraction & Promotion. During the session there were several key points that stood out, one of which included a statement by Shannon Paiva, Supervisor of Chatham-Kent Tourism. Shannon said, “I can’t stress how important it is that every Chatham-Kent business recognizes that they are in the business of tourism, especially those that interact with the public.”

Shannon added to this statement by informing that group that, on average, 70% of people who visit Chatham-Kent are here to visit family and friends.

To further support Chatham-Kent businesses, Economic Development is holding a draw whereby two businesses can each win a 1/4 page ad in the Official 2019 WAMBO Program. Entry is as easy as subscribing to the Economic Development e-newsletter through their website at

“The e-newsletter is packed full of information about grants, events, training, business development, and other timely industry information. It’s our hope that every business and entrepreneur subscribes as it will help them keep on top of information they need,” said Tompsett. “The contest is a way to help generate some buzz and also to help two lucky businesses share their information in a publication that reaches 9000 households.”

Window display at Serena’s Ladies Wear in downtown Blenheim, featuring Canadian designer Joseph Ribkoff.
Window display at Serena’s Ladies Wear in downtown Blenheim, featuring Canadian designer Joseph Ribkoff.

Additional Details:

  • For more information about Chatham-Kent Tourism, visit:
  • Learn more about Chatham-Kent Economic Development on our website:

Media Contact:

Andrew Tompsett
Marketing and Communications Officer, Economic Development Services
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
Phone: 519-352-8401 x2039
Fax: 519-436-3237