Your browser is not supported.
Your browser is too old. To use this website, please upgrade to Microsoft Edge, Chrome or Firefox.

St. Catharines supports BIPOC, women-led and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs with the My Main Street program

Posted in News & Updates

In a effort to ensure main streets in St. Catharines remain vibrant, TeamSTC tapped the My Main Street program to help focus support on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and women-led businesses.

Thanks to the program, 20 participants received My Main Street funding, resulting in $200,000 in grants for St. Catharines businesses that are sometimes left out of other programs.

My Main Street business spotlights

Tap the links below to hear from some of our My Main Street businesses about their successes through the program. 

All Figure

All Figure

Crispy African Market

Chrispy African Market

Hourglass Barbershop

Hourglass Barbershop

Mackk Fitness

Mackk Fitness

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced a $23.25-million investment to the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI) and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO) to establish My Main Street — a program to support the recovery and revitalization of main streets and local businesses in southern Ontario. The City received funding for two My Main Street Ambassadors to join TeamSTC as well $10,000 grants supporting new and existing businesses for each community though the initiative's Local Business Accelerator.

The program is a data-driven community economic development program focused on revitalizing main streets with a healthy retail mix, while providing residents, new entrepreneurs, and existing businesses with economic opportunities in their main street community. It provided both grants and a mix of market research and business planning supports to businesses, with an emphasis on traditionally underserved communities in the downtown and Merritton / Queenston business areas.

TeamSTC is proud to play a role in improving equity within the community by addressing systemic barriers and promoting equal access to opportunities. By targeting programs such as My Main Street we help ensure all entrepreneurs have a chance at success in St. Catharines. Supporting new and existing businesses in Downtown St. Catharines and Merritton, particularly those led by BIPOC, women and LGBTQ+, helps ensure our community remains vibrant and reflects our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

More My Main Street businesses

Congratulations to the following MMS Local Business Accelerator program participants receiving marketing support and $10,000 grants: 

Bubbles Niagara

The funding will allow Bubbles to get their new business up and running by purchasing an ice machine, coffee maker, and prep fridge. They will be able to better compete with large chains using their new equipment.

Bubbles is a brand-new business and is the only bubble tea shop downtown. This funding will also help them invest in new menu items such as tacos and salad bowls!

Christopher’s Café

My Main Street funding will help Christopher’s Café (formerly Christopher’s Variety) re-launch its business in a new form by helping purchase a new retractable awning, led lighting, signage, and planters.

Christopher’s is a long-standing business that has been operating downtown for 85 years, and this re-launching signals the start of a new era.

Helen’s Deli

The funding will allow Helen’s to meet their growing demand by installing two new kitchen ranges. They will also be able to make their own stickers and labels in-house with their new label printer.

Helen’s is a well-known and long-standing local establishment. This funding will also help them invest in new grab-and-go items to cater the need for fast and healthy lunch options for workers downtown.


My Main Street funding will allow oddBar. to set up a vacuum sealer and glass merchandising freezer. With these items, they will be set to launch a new line of par-baked pizzas, allowing customers to store and prepare oddBar. pizzas in the comfort of their own homes.

oddBar. is the sister restaurant to oddBird., the iconic Downtown St. Catharines eatery located just down the street. This funding will also help restaurant staff maintain work-life balance by allowing customers to enjoy oddbird. pizza even when the restaurant is closed.

Sugar + Butter Baking Co.

The funding will allow Sugar + Butter to meet its growing demand for coffee by purchasing a commercial espresso machine and increase production of custom designs with a new edible sticker printer.

This grant will also help the business display products and keep a larger amount of inventory on hand with a new display case.

The Keto Crumb Bakery

My Main Street funding will help Keto Crumb display and store products, increase production capacity, and improve efficiency.

Keto Crumb is a new business, and was able to use funding to get a new display, a mixer, inventory for retail, tech devices, and marketing materials.

Wandering Spirits Coffee Co.

The funding will help Wandering Spirits improve the ambience and functionality of its Downtown St. Catharines location through renovations, new lighting and window decals.

Wandering Spirits was also able to use the funding to hire painters for a full-wall mural and attract customers in the evening with a new backlit sign.

Pizza Jerry’s

My Main Street funding will help Pizza Jerry’s enhance its loyalty program to more effectively tap into the area's love of discounts and coupons to increase sales.

Pizza Jerry’s has been a fixture in the Merritton community for decades and continues to give back. With the return of in-store dining, a portion of the funding was used to upgrade its freezer so the business can keep up with their customer’s demands.


The funding will help Honey’s upgrade film equipment for its “Fashion Friday” videos on Facebook featuring new products & styling tips.

The My Main Street market research report found Facebook and Instagram were shared to be the social media platforms that the Merritton community uses the most.

Sweeney Pods

My Main Street funding will help Sweeney Pods hire a marketing team to create a stronger online presence with social media campaigns.  

Since St. Catharines has a large population, entrepreneur Jason Lee realized the significant gap in the hotel/motel market and decided to start this venture. Pod/Capsule hotels provide cheap, basic overnight accommodation for guests who do not require or cannot afford larger, more expensive rooms offered by more conventional hotels. 

Since hotels mostly rely on tourists and travelers, you need to be able to have a strong outreach. Online marketing is the best way to do this.

Q Tires

Q Tires not only sells tires and rims, but offers services such as installations and tire pressure checks. It’s a fully operational car garage working on imported and domestic models of cars and trucks, offering oil changes and diagnostic service. The business provides great customer service and great performance for the people not only in Merritton but all of St. Catharines.

Qaiser Bhatti of Q Tires decided to use the My Main Street funding he received to upgrade storefront signs to target people driving by the business.

These signs will also reflect the bright new future he wants the business to go in. When people pass these signs, they will be intrigued to come in. 


My Main Street funding will help pocket{CHANGE} support findings from the market research and launch its own line of laser-engraved goods through the purchase of the necessary materials and supplies to use for the laser cutter.

pocket}CHANGE is a sustainable boutique located in Downtown St. Catharines, offering curated collections of gifts and goods created by local or fair-trade makers, allowing customers to shop their sustainable lifestyle values.

Another portion of the funding will help the business promote new workshops and products with marketing campaigns. 


Dispatch is a nationally award-winning full-service restaurant and boutique retail shop offering exceptional hospitality and signature food and beverage products made in-house and curated from international and local producers.

Dispatch will the funding it received from My Main Street on equipment, marketing, inventory, and technology.

Dispatch is a non-tipping restaurant, a member of the Better Way Alliance, and a certified Living Wage Employer at the Champion level through the Ontario Living Wage Network.

Cacao Crémeux

My Main Street funding will help Akhil Sebastian purchase equipment, package inventory and create a website for marketing purposes for his business Cacao Crémeux.

Akhil Sebastian opened the doors to his café in March 2023 and offers modern French pastries in the market and that are unique in flavour and design.

The My Main Street, Local Business Accelerator program is delivered by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario with an overall Government of Canada investment of $23.25 million through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) to support the recovery and strength of main streets and local businesses in southern Ontario. 

On behalf of all our participants, the City of St. Catharines would like to thank the Government of Canada, FedDev Ontario and the Economic Developers Council of Ontario for supporting our local business. 

Discover Why St. Catharines Is Your Business Advantage

Contact our team of experts for a consultation today.

Get Started

(905) 688-5601