As the Shop Local Movement spreads across Canada, ShopCity.com is proud to welcome ShopLethbridge.com into the fold. Under the management of brand new City Manager Paul Bonenfant, ShopLethbridge.com joins over 30 active markets (and growing!) across the nation offering small businesses a new way to attract local consumers online. A former golf pro, Paul comes to ShopLethbridge.com with an education in business and a drive to help small, local businesses in his city succeed.
ShopCity.com General Manager Rick Kloss (left) and ShopLethbridge.com City Manager Paul Bonenfant (right) at a training session.
Paul has spent the past few months introducing Lethbridge business people to the ShopLethbridge.com platform, and he is working hard to make the site a household name in Lethbridge.
"We know Paul will be an excellent champion for local businesses in Lethbridge. His enthusiasm for the Shop Local Movement and his drive to make sure every business member on the site is well represented in the community is inspiring," said ShopCity.com founder Colin Pape. "Under Paul's management ShopLethbridge.com will be a great success."
The launch of ShopLethbridge.com comes as ShopCity.com expands rapidly in western Canada. Stay tuned for more announcements about new city sites in the next few weeks! ShopLethbridge.com will build on the strong Shop Local foundation already set in Alberta with ShopRedDeer.com. ShopCity.com is proud to have such a strong foothold to help support business owners in Alberta.
Lethbridge businesses can now add themselves to their cities Shop Local directory by clicking here.
Since Paul Bonenfant is a brand new member of the ShopCity.com team, we thought we would let you know a little bit more about the man behind ShopLethbridge.com. Take it away, Paul!
Tell us three interesting things about yourself.
1. I'm passionate about helping people and businesses.
2. I'm an avid golfer
3. I'm an animal lover.
What inspires you?
The drive to get up every day and do something to improve on yesterday is an essential part of my growth. I love to inspire people to improve their golf game, business or personal life through my own life experiences. Sharing knowledge is at the root of how far I’ve come and I will never stop.
If you could meet one famous influencer alive today, whom would you meet?
I feel as though the most amazing person living in our times is Ellen Degeneres. She’s been able to destroy walls of hate that stood for far too long. Her personality and her show have been able to bring people together by showcasing the powerful effects of kindness. Hate breeds hate, kindness may not destroy hate, but it is a much more productive and fulfilling way to live.
What's your mantra?
“Treat people the way you’d like to be treated”
I’ve adopted this simple and effective way to bring out the best in people, which normally leads to new friendships and powerful connections with others.
Favorite album of all time?
The Tragically Hip – Day for Night
What are you most proud of?
Having had such a wonderful family that has instilled great values in me to be kind and giving.
Why do you choose to live in Lethbridge?
I joke that Lethbridge is the desert of Canada and the weather here is amazing for my golf game. Heather and I moved to Lethbridge three years ago from New Brunswick to be closer to my family. We’ve since grown to love this city. We’ve replaced our snow shovels with a leaf blower and do not regret it for one second.
Paul and Heather golfing in Bermuda.
How are you involved in your community?
When we moved here three years ago, we knew we were going to stay. We volunteered at many local non-profit organizations, joined the curling club and the golf club. These activities allowed Heather to gain employment but we quickly realized that Lethbridge was a very close-knit community. We’ve made some great friends since we’ve moved here and look forward to meeting more awesome people.
What's your favourite thing to buy locally?
I suppose you could say that I am a coffee aficionado. The first explorations on my travels are to seek out the best espresso in town. Communities are deeply rooted in their coffee shops and it is the best way to find out about local activities, events, people and businesses.
What's your favourite activity in Lethbridge?
I spend much of my time golfing in Lethbridge, our green spaces are numerous and diverse. The off-leash dog parks, trails through the coulees and outdoor facilities are awesome. The city has recently opened a public water park, which is drawing a lot of attention.
Why do you advocate for the Shop Local movement?
My business has so many layers, but at the root of it all is to create a stronger local economy. All too many of my friends and neighbours spend their dollars shopping outside of our border. If I can help local businesses showcase their products on one community-based website, and draw more shoppers to seek their needs in local shops, my job is done.
What makes Lethbridge unique?
Agriculture is the driving force behind our economy. As we are approaching 100k in population, the city will become much more diversified in its services and business. This is exciting for our entrepreneurs as the need for more business is growing and presenting a lot of new opportunities.
What's one thing you can only buy in Lethbridge?
Digital Marketing Strategies from Paul at ShopLethbridge.com
Give us three words that describe Lethbridge?
Opportunity, Active, Growing.
Why did you decide to become a city manager with ShopLethbridge.com?
I was looking for a business that would help my local economy. Having the ability to showcase locally-owned businesses on a community website and have the only platform that allows these businesses to have a fully functional online marketplace was exciting. Most businesses use this marketplace to let consumers know exactly what is available from them. This form of direct marketing has a more profound impact on sales than many other marketing strategies available today. This along with many other tools available at ShopLethbridge.com will help these businesses save a lot of money and grow their online presence organically.
What's your professional background?
I studied business in college and worked as golf professional for 15 years. I was fortunate to develop many meaningful relationships with all kinds of people in many cities in North America. I learnt from some of the most successful people in the golf industry and understood the power of the digital world. My drive to learn and grow is a natural fit in the ShopCity.com team. We are constantly improving our platform and growing with the online world.
Paul out for a round of golf with Dezel and Mitch in March at Evergreen Golf Centre.
What struggles are local business owners in Lethbridge facing?
We have grown over the years and have welcomed many corporate businesses to move in to offer their products. The struggle for small business owners is to compete in pricing. As we know, the service you receive from a business owner far out-weighs what you get in a corporate store. The reality is people watch their dollars a lot closer in today’s economy. ShopLethbridge.com is demonstrating that those products may be available locally for the same or better pricing along with the best in customer service. Mom and pop shops are experts in their field, consumers need to recognize this when spending their dollars.
What do you hope the future of Lethbridge looks like?
Our city is growing and will be attracting people from all over to fill those jobs and business opportunities. The future looks bright!
Where do you hope to see ShopLethbridge.com in 5 years?
The growth of my business depends on my service and the strength of my platform. As more businesses are recognizing the benefits of having a strong digital marketing strategy, my services should be at the forefront of their strategy. This proven platform in over 30 markets in Canada is powerful and constantly improving. This is the type of business you should trust when spending your marketing dollars.
What's your advice for new or prospective city owners?
The world of sales is not easy. My early success is largely due to the support I received from home base. Thomas is an expert at handling my inquiries and his response time is outstanding. In my short time with ShopLethbridge.com, I’ve learnt so much about this world and continue to learn daily. If you want a fulfilling challenge that allows you to learn, grow and do some good for your local community, this is the perfect business to have.
What's your definition of an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is the master of his own destiny. You hold the key to the success you will have. Success breeds success. Having fun along the way is a necessary attribute to any business.
Where can people find you on social media?
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn | YouTube | Google+
Why do you shop locally?
For expert advice and a fulfilling experience that is helping my local economy grow. When you go to any events centre, do you see corporate big box advertising anywhere? These stores are ripping millions of dollars out of our city every day. I like to spend money with people who are helping my world be a better place.