What is a BIA?
A Business Improvement Association (BIA) is a geographic district within a Municipality. The volunteer board of management is composed of property owners & merchants who contribute directly to the BIA with one member of the Municipal council. The Woodstock BIA is managed by the BIA Manager.
The Woodstock BIA allows local business and property owners to join forces and with the support of the Provincial by-law, to organize, finance, and implement its purpose and objectives of overseeing the beautification, promotions, and events in the downtown core.
What is a BIA? A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a “made-in- Ontario” innovation that allows local business people, and commercial property owners, tenants to join together and, with the support of the municipality, to organize, finance, and carry out physical improvements and promote economic development in their district. Traditionally, a BIA is a body established by a municipality using the specific business improvement area provisions in the Municipal Act, 2001. It is governed by a Board of Management.
Board of Management
At The Office & Scout HR Solutions
Treasurer - Director
City of Woodstock
Forshire Group Inc. & Ironworks Kitchen
Re/Max a-b Realty Ltd.
Downtown Dollars are certificates that can be used just like cash at any of our participating downtown businesses in the BIA District. They have no cash value and cannot be exchanged for cash. The full denomination will be forfeited with purchase and no change will be given. Businesses that accept Downtown Dollars receive full payment back, in cash from the BIA Office.
They come in gift certificate form and are sold in $10.00 or $25.00 denominations with no expiry date.
These make a perfect gift for everyone on your list!
Participating businesses can place restrictions on Downtown Dollars if they wish, for example tobacco, alcohol, gift cards, prescription medications etc. *
Certificates that have been won will have an expiry date as they were not purchased,
they are a prize offered by the BIA.
There is no cash/change provided when someone redeems their Downtown Dollars.
Ie. If a customer makes a purchase totalling $55.00, and gives the merchant $50.00 in
Downtown Dollars, then the customer owes the merchant $5.00 cash. If the customer
gives the merchant $60.00 in Downtown Dollars, the customer does not get any change
and therefore the customer forfeits the $5.00. The customer can choose another
product to use up the $5.00 if desired.
The expiry date is noted on each certificate!
For more information - see the FAQ's page.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Business Improvement Association?
A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a “made-in- Ontario” innovation that allows local business people and commercial property owners and tenants to join together and, with the support of the municipality, to organize, finance, and carry out physical improvements and promote economic development in their district.
A BIA Board of Management is a local Board of Council, for all purposes. BIA’s are legislated by the Municipal Act, 2001. Under s. 201. (1) of the Municipal Act, a local municipality may designate an area as an improvement area and may establish a board of management,
a) To oversee the improvement, beautification and maintenance of municipally owned land, buildings and structures in the area beyond that provided at the expense of the municipality generally: and
b) To promote the area as a business or shopping area. 2001, c. 24, s. 201 (1)
Downtown Woodstock is governed by volunteer Board of Directors consisting of eleven members elected from the Downtown business community and property owners and a council representative appointed by Council.
The BIA has an annual budget: Where does the money go?
The budget is created annually to cover the expenses for the upcoming year. The budget is reviewed by the BIA Board of Management, BIA Members at the Annual General Meeting and then taken to City Council for approval. The Board Chair presents the budget to the Membership, and the BIA Manager presents the budget to Council. The municipal auditor is the auditor of the Board of Management and may inspect all records of the board. The 2021 budget is a public document.
What has occurred in the last 5 years that the BIA is credited for?
a. Doubled the festival size, from the original 3 blocks to 6 blocks, to include all businesses on Dundas Street, 2019
b. Increase in Sponsorships the past two years, 2019/20
c. Bike and Blues successfully added to Streetfest
d. Cruise Fest, the BIA started this as an addition to Streetfest when South Gate Centre
could no longer hold this at their previous location. In 2018, they took ownership of this
event. The BIA continues to collaborate and promote this event.
a. Streetlight decorations were maintained and stored by the BIA until 2018 when the City
took them over
b. Christmas Planter decorations purchased and maintained by the BIA, annually
c. Ding Dong the Tax is Gone Promotion, annually
d. Festive Friday Promotion– Horse and Carriage Rides, began in 2014, annually
e. Stop, Drop and Roll Promotion, during recent 5 years
3. Transport Truck Advertising, 2019
4. Retired Fire Fighters Convention, bus tour, brought downtown to shop local, 2019
5. Tasty Walking Tours, 2018
6. Digital Main Street, collaboration with the Small Business Centre, 2019, 2020, 2021
7. Win This Space, in progress, 2019
8. Outdoor Patios, in progress, 2018/19
9. BIA Incentive Cards, updated and distributed annually to all BIA members and the municipality’s staff, ongoing
10. Passport to Savings, distribution through the local accommodation locations, ongoing
11. Crosswalk Project 2019/2020, on hold due to Covid
12. Shopping Bags, annually, cancelled due to one use plastic ban
13. Continual petitioning of the City regarding garbage clean up, which resulted in the City changing their by-laws to make it easier for them to implement
14. Weekly discussions with Roads Department, regarding any garbage reported in the Downtown that needs to be picked up, including sharps
15. Frequent reminders to the City of contravention of the City bylaw regarding businesses less than the prescribed square footage locating outside the BIA Area
16. Artisan Christmas Market 2019, collaboration with SBC
17. Bark in the Park, 2019 – new event
18. Scarecrow Promotion and Selfie with an”Elfie “, 2018
19. Block List database created by Manager for use by BIA and City staff
20. Block List update, leads to various updated Directory listings, manuals
21. Property Vacancy Tax Rebate, supported and successfully approved by Council
22. Property Vacancy Database for new businesses looking to locate here
23. Welcoming Streets Program, 2019
24. Petition to City regarding a need for increased police presence, which in turn will be realized beginning the end of November 2019, with two designated officers
25. Incident reporting system created by the BIA Manager in 2019 to create benchmarks to track the number and types of incidents occurring in the Downtown. Utilized by the Police.
26. Downtown Woodstock Revitalization Project, key stakeholder with City, 2019
27. FICE Project, First Impressions Community Exchange, 2019, St. Thomas
Manager sits on the following Committees;
a. Community Improvement Planning Committee (CIP) – City of Woodstock
b. Façade Improvement Planning Committee (FIP) – City of Woodstock
c. Sylvania Sister City Committee – City of Woodstock
d. Woodstock Santa Claus Parade Committee
e. Member of Woodstock Chamber of Commerce
f. Oxford County Council Sub-Commitee for Housing Collaborative
What other ways is the BIA supporting members?
a. Downtown Businesses report that they have their best sales of the year during
Streetfest weekend, second to their Christmas promotion
b. Streetfest encourages pedestrian traffic, increases opportunities for people to visit our
local merchants. Your Board gets them here, it’s up to the business to get them into
their location to buy local
c. Increases spending in the Downtown
d. Is a great economic driver, filling restaurants, accommodations, businesses, etc.
e. Cause and effect, ripple effect is very prevalent, customer buys from downtown
merchant, in turns pays employee, in turn shops local
a. The BIA is working closely with the City to bring new promotions and beautification
projects to the Downtown through the City’s 5 year plan.
Do you have an incentive program for Downtown merchants and the public?
Yes! The Downtown Woodstock BIA is excited to offer the power of FanSaves to encourage the community to #shoplocal! FanSaves is a FREE mobile app and website whereby locals and visitors to the Downtown Woodstock area can receive discounts and deals from their favourite downtown businesses when they follow the Downtown Woodstock BIA page. The free digital platform revamps the standard discount program and gives BIA members the opportunity to market their businesses and drive more traffic into their stores while tracking analytics.
If you are a member of the Downtown Woodstock BIA and would like to offer a deal, please fill out the online form here: https://form.jotform.com/210683706861257.
What are Downtown Dollars? What are they used for? How are they used?
These are truly a gift perfect for anyone, customers can use the Downtown Dollar Certificates towards a purchase at any participating business in Downtown Woodstock. What a great way to support small business and support local!
We are encouraging all downtown businesses to accept DOWNTOWN DOLLARS Certificates; you are under no legal obligation to do so. If you do choose to participate, please explain the program to your employees, so they may be familiar with the use of them. We will provide you with a small sign/decal to display on your window or at your cash register, so everyone knows that you accept Downtown Dollars!
This is how it works!
For those who would like to give the gift of Downtown Dollars, they can be purchased at the BIA office. They are in gift certificate form and can only be used at merchants/ businesses within the downtown BIA District! They are sold in denominations of $10.00 or $25.00 with no expiry date.
Since no cash change is provided when someone redeems their Downtown Dollars, here is an example of how that looks: If someone has a purchase totalling $55.00, and they give you $50.00 in Downtown Dollars, then they owe you $5.00 cash. If they give you $60.00 in Downtown Dollars, they do not get any change and therefore they forfeit the $5.00. Or better yet they pick another item and use it up!
You as the merchant will then contact the BIA office by email, telephone or in person to let us know that someone spent their Downtown Dollars certificates at your business, we would then arrange to 5 reimburse you with CASH in exchange for the Downtown Dollars. We will ask you to please sign the backof the Downtown Dollars to verify you were paid back for the amount used.