Canby Civic Block LLC is holding a Small Business Boot Camp for current and potential local business owners

HERALD PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - The new Dahlia is part of the Canby Civic Block.A wine bar? A gift shop? A café? What business have you dreamed of opening, but never had the guts or skills to actually follow through with?

Canby Civic Block LLC is hosting a Small Business Boot Camp Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 3-4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at the Dahlia Building. It will end with a business pitch competition on Sunday from 3-4 p.m. The free event is an effort to encourage local entrepreneurship.

"Locally run, small businesses create vibrant communities and downtowns with character," said Meredith Goddard, event director and consultant for Hanlon Development. "We would like to work with small businesses that are deeply connected to, and invested in Canby."

Mary Hanlon of Hanlon Development, which owns the block, recently described some of her visions for the storefronts at the Dahlia. She hopes to see a restaurant, perhaps a wine bar and some local retail shops.

"It is our hope that the Canby Civic Block will be a food and retail destination that offers locally grown food and wine, as well as locally crafted products," Goddard said. "We want business owners who understand Canby and who are engaged with the community."

But Goddard suggested that they are unclear on what Canby people want Canby to be, which is why the group also held a visioning forum on Monday, Oct. 22.

"It's clear that Canby doesn't want to become an extension of Portland, or any other city for that matter," Goddard said. "On the other hand, it's not super clear what Canby residents want in their downtown."

So the group will gather the information and perceived barriers to entrepreneurship that they gleaned from the visioning forum and address those topics in the Boot Camp.

Through the Boot Camp, the group hopes to stimulate entrepreneurship by giving people the knowledge and resources they need to open their doors in downtown Canby; but they also hope to connect current and potential business owners with mentors.

Local leaders attending one or both events include: Jamie Stickel, economic development director; Kyle Lang, chamber of commerce director; Calvin LeSueur, economic development and tourism coordinator; Todd Gary, fire marshall at Canby Fire; Mary Hanlon, principal and Hanlon Development; Joan Monen, owner at Wild Hare; Brian Hodson, mayor; Mallory Gwynn, owner at Gwynn's Coffeehouse; and Dan Kinney, owner at Full Bloom Digital.

Goddard expects the Boot Camp to be engaging with small, intensive workshops throughout the weekend.

The event will culminate in a final business pitch competition at the end of the weekend, with a prize of $1,000 plus one month's free rent in the Canby Civic Block.

For the link to register for the Boot Camp and to view the workshop schedule, visit the event page at

Kristen Wohlers
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