Many Christmas shoppers are having gifts delivered to their recipients this holiday season because in-person visits with family and friends are not possible. It is also difficult for small businesses to make deliveries because they do not have access to services that larger corporations or businesses in major cities can use.
Local merchants will have access to a free local delivery service during the holiday season. Prescott and Russell Local Delivery Services is a partnership between Tourisme Prescott-Russell Tourism (TPRT), The Nation Municipality, the Unité entrepreneuriale de La Cité, the Eastern Ontario Agri-food Network, Cassel Brewery and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev).
“It was brought to our attention that businesses needed delivery services,” said TPRT Director Geneviève Duval.
This free delivery service will allow merchants in Prescott and Russell to have their products shipped directly to the front door of consumers located within the region in three simple steps: reserve their place in the van, print their labels and clearly identify their packages, and drop off their parcels at one of the drop-off points in Alfred or Casselman.
The Alfred drop-off point is at 31 St-Paul Street and the Casselman drop-off point is at Cassel Brewery, located at 2 Racine Street. The service uses the TPRT van for transportation. Duval said the van was available because it is not being used for any of TPRT’s usual activities due to the pandemic.
“As a business owner, I am delighted with this service which will allow entrepreneurs in the region to reduce the headaches related to the delivery of their merchandise,” explained Vanessa Viau, co-owner of Kyan Cuisine.
In total, there will be four delivery days: Friday, December 4, 11, and 18, as well as Wednesday, December 23. In order for packages to be delivered on time, merchants will need to ensure that they bring their merchandise to the appropriate drop-off point on the Tuesday prior to the scheduled delivery date between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Local entrepreneurs who wish to take advantage of this service will have to reserve their spot quickly since space in the van is limited.
Duval said that the idea is to get business owners from the western part of Prescott and Russell to have their products shipped from Casselman and for those from the east to have items shipped from Alfred.
“For the holiday season, the majority of our local merchants are shifting to online sales and now have to compete with the big companies while living through a period of unprecedented change,” said Kathy Chaumont, Vice-President of the Eastern Ontario Agri-Food Network.
“We believe this community initiative will support our entrepreneurs and hopefully encourage local purchasing,” Chaumont said.
The Prescott and Russell Economic Recovery Taskforce has identified the need to support entrepreneurs with the delivery of their parcels during the holiday season, the time of the year when the majority of local businesses make a significant portion of their annual sales. The project was planned in consultation with local merchants to adapt the service to their needs.
No TPRT membership is required for businesses to use Prescott and Russell Local Delivery Services. To participate, business owners must complete a form, which can be found at https://forms.gle/64gMXqnUNPGyo8z58 .