Jordi Wills, senior vice-president of Wills Transfer was one of the guest speakers at the South Stormont Chamber of Commerce meeting Tuesday evening. He spoke of the company his great-grandfather founded and of how he sees a long, bright future for Wills Transfer in Ingleside.   Tinkess Photo

Ingleside – COVID-19 was very hard on small businesses in eastern Ontario, and when the worst of the pandemic had passed, energies were then focused on trying to salvage what you could and begin the long, drawn-out process of rebuilding. Not many people had the energy for much else other than the essentials, and as a result some organizations went almost into what could be described as a state of hibernation. Fortunately, a small, dedicated group of individuals kept the South Stormont Chamber of Commerce on life support.

That is, at least, until now. Now it is time to get back to the business of being in business, and in South Stormont, that also means rebuilding, revitalizing, or resurrecting the Chamber of Commerce.  Judging by the number of people who crowded into Humble Beginnings Brewery on Tuesday evening, the patient is not only able to breath on its own, it seems healthier than it has in many years.

Carol Delorme, Chamber president, was extremely pleased with the attendance, and admitted that the number of people who showed up exceeded her expectations.

“I wanted more than our December meeting,” said Delorme, “And our December meeting was about 12 people and most of them were regulars. So, to have how many heads are here? Twenty, twenty-three? And it’s the new faces too, there are many of them that I don’t know yet. We’ve got businesses in South Stormont, and I want to promote them, and we want to promote them, so no question about the chamber going forward.”

While the main purpose of the meeting was to act as a membership drive, the goal of providing something of value was also met in the form of not one, but two guest speakers. Jordi Wills, senior vice-president of Wills Transfer spoke about the wonderful welcome the company his great-grandfather founded received when they added a 155,000 s.f. 3PL (Third -Party Logistics) and warehousing facility at the north end of Ingleside, just off the 401.

They’re not done, either. “We would like to so we would like to make Ingleside a place where we can grow,” said Wills.  “We’ve got 40 acres there; we can do up to a million square feet. Right now, we’ve got 125,000 square feet. It is such a great location between Toronto and Montreal, just off the 401, all these truck carriers around lots of industry. Our goal is to grow here.”

The second speaker was Penny Rudderham, a digital service advisor from the Cornwall Business Enterprise Centre. She spoke of some of the grants that are available to small business and how she is available to help take advantage of them. She is also able to conduct a digital audit for existing businesses to help them let the world know they exist. As a business owner and a self-described technology geek she has the experience to suggest what needs to be done to help build an online presence.

“For those of you that may not have shaken my hand before I wear many hats,” said Rudderham. “I am a full-time realtor. I branded myself as a home geek. I am technology based and paperless. This is a build up. I also own a consulting company. I go into small businesses, I do technology audits, and I help businesses get productive with technology tools.  When I was approached with an opportunity to work with the business centre, to go in and do just that with small businesses in my community, I jumped at the opportunity.”

Those in attendance were encouraged to get up and mingle and get to know the other businesspeople in the room. One of those present was Chris Hemond, economic development/communications coordinator for the Township of South Stormont. He says that a healthy Chamber of Commerce is a vital part of the community.

“I think that this is a great time for them to kind of reinvigorate and  to get the juices flowing again,” said Hemond. “And I thought tonight was an excellent first step with those two great speakers. I know the intention is to have the monthly meetings and kind of keep building off that.

“I think there’s some great things to build from here.  I’m excited to see the turnout tonight for the first meeting of 2024, and I look forward to helping, however the township can, to rebuild it too.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the South Stormont Chamber of Commerce, you can reach out to them through Facebook at

If you would like to have a light shined on your business, please contact us at: or call us at 613-448-2321.