Creemore BIA planning for downtown success

 In Business

Bank Café owner Nancy Johnston will be heading up the Creemore BIA for the upcoming term.

Johnston was elected president by members of the BIA board in February, during its first meeting of the new four- year term. Johnston has been in Creemore since 2004 and the proprietor of Bank Café since 2008 (except for a hiatus of five years). She served as BIA vice president from 2019-2021. Johnston said she has always been an active member of the business community and has helped with street decor, but she wanted to do more.

“I love Creemore and I am really excited about it. I do have a clear vision of cooperation, communication, and improved social media,” she said.

Johnston said she will rely on the valuable experience and knowledge of past president Laurie Severn, of Heirloom 142, and Lagom 142 and 172, returning members including treasurer Sara Hershoff, publisher of The Creemore Echo, secretary Linda deWinter, of Creemore 100 Mile Store, Heather Harding, representing Creemore Springs Brewery, and council rep John Broderick. She welcomes to the team vice president Milynne Benoit, of Chez Michel, and Cheri Mara, of Tierra Hermosa Local Market.

Johnston said she is grateful to Severn whose reign saw the BIA through the opening of Creemore Village Green, and the pandemic.

“She did a wonderful job of keeping everyone calm, employed, and our doors open as much as possible,” said Johnston.

She said local businesses were well supported during the pandemic and continue to thrive.

The BIA – Business Improvement Area – is funded by levies collected from property owners within the designated area along the commercial corridor of Mill Street and a portion of Caroline Street West to promote businesses and enhance beatification. The BIA is the entity responsible for the seasonal street decor and select events.

It is planning an Easter egg hunt in partnership with Clearview Community Church, and a Summer Solstice party at the Village Green with line dancing and live music.

In addition, Johnston said the BIA looks forward to supporting collaborations with the Village Green committee – which is planning to activate the park on Sundays throughout the summer with activities and live music – the Creemore Horticultural Society, and the Legion, which hosts Canada Day celebrations.

“I think everyone is happy to be out of Covid and looks forward to being together,” said Johnston.

Her goal is to make the village as vibrant and active as possible in order to sustain the downtown businesses.

“I want to make sure that when visitors come here we surpass their expectations,” said Johnston.

The BIA is planning to shift to a new colour scheme of orange and yellows, for the planters and the Muskoka chairs, to coordinate with the Village Green furnishings, in honour of its fist full summer season. The chairs are purchased through $100 sponsorships anddisplay plaques recognizing the donors. For sponsorship information contact Hershoff at

Follow the BIA on social media @ CreemoreOntario.

Photo: The newly elected Creemore BIA committee includes Cheri Mara (from left), Sara Hershoff (treasurer), Nancy Johnston (president), Heather Harding and Linda deWinter (secretary). Absent is Milynne Benoit (vice president) and past president Laurie Severn.

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