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Plucky local news site celebrates opening of its new office

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At GuelphToday, we are accustomed to covering the grand openings for a number of businesses across Guelph, but the tables were turned Thursday as members of the community came out to celebrate the opening of our new downtown office on Norfolk Street.

The new permanent office on Norfolk Street replaces a temporary space GuelphToday inhabited on Wyndham Street.

It was important for the office to be located within the city’s downtown, said Liz O’Donnell, senior account executive for GuelphToday.

Marty Williams, executive director of the Downtown Guelph Business Association said the location of the Norfolk Street office is great for visibility.

“We are so delighted that you picked this spot and didn’t find some spot with horrendous huge parking lot in front of it,” quipped Williams. “Who would want that?”

Williams said he was especially pleased that GuelphToday took on the hosting of Guelph Business Venture — a highly-regarded business-to-business publication that has been in production for 25 years in Guelph.

“Speaking as both an advertiser and a contributor for that part of the site, I am very happy to see that the business voice in Guelph has a special section and I have to say the contributors are outstanding,” said Williams.

With a full house on Thursday, Village Media’s CEO Jeff Elgie took the opportunity to present a cheque to the Foundation of Guelph General Hospital for $7,000.

The presentation was made possible by the proceeds from contributions to the Teddy Bear Caper, a long-standing fundraising initiative GuelphToday inherited after the closure of the Guelph Mercury in 2015.

Elgie said GuelphToday supports a wide-range of cash and in-kind support to many charities in the city.

In remarks made during Thursday's opening, GuelphToday was lauded for its support of a number of fundraising initiatives in the community by Kithio Mwanzia, president and CEO of the Guelph Chamber of Commerce.

“Numerous organizations have made their fundraising objectives a reality because of your participation,” said Mwanzia.

Now in it’s third year of serving the Guelph community, GuelphToday is one of a number of growing local news web sites operated by its Sault Ste. Marie-based parent company, Village Media.

Village Media’s first website, SooToday, began publishing local news in 2001. Village Media also operates similar news web sites in Barrie, North Bay, Timmins and Elliot Lake.

Since January, Village Media has opened new sites in Orillia and Collingwood, which Village Media CEO Jeff Elgie said was in response to the closure of newspapers that served those communities.

Through partnerships with a number of media partners, the Village Media platform now hosts news websites across Canada, from Halifax, NS to Kamloops, BC.

Two more sites using Village Media’s platform will become operational within the next month, said Elgie.

During remarks at Thursday’s event, Guelph’s Mayor Cam Guthrie said the company’s expansion plans are to be celebrated.

“I am so excited when I hear that businesses are expanding and growing. It just fires me up because that is the entrepreneurial spirit,” said Guthrie.

“Yes, you are telling the news, you are selling advertisements for businesses in town as well, but you are really connected to the community and you have done a very good job at that,” added Guthrie.

On average, GuelphToday reaches about 30,000 mobile users and 15,000 on desktops per week. 

“We are moving quickly and we are becoming well known for being very connected to local communities like this and providing news that many people are really missing out on,” said Elgie.


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