Ponoka business uses the Internet to reach clients

“We have people coming from the cities that can’t find the variety of stuff we have.” Michelle Auclair, co-owner of Twisted Label

Michelle Auclair

Michelle Auclair

With the Internet being so accessible, small businesses in rural environments have been able to reach a larger customer base than ever before, using online catalogues.

For the last three and a half years, Ponoka’s Twisted Label has been using the Internet to showcase many of the clothing brands they sell through an online database. Co-owner Michelle Auclair says she and Elaine Finkbeiner created their online brochure from the ground up.

The goal with the online catalogue was to get customers in the larger cities to see what they had for sale. They needed to ensure a catalogue was available. “It’s just the way the industry’s going,” said Auclair.

Being in a small town, business owners have had to think of innovative ways to get people to their store. Auclair says they try to carry clothing products that cannot be found in most stores such as Walmart or other brand name clothing stores.

“We have people coming from the cities that can’t find the variety of stuff we have,” she stressed.

“That’s where the gems are,” said Auclair of small town stores.

To drive interest, they showcase products at venues where their customers are, such as the Canadian Finals Rodeo or the Alberta Barrel Racing Association Finals.

Taking advantage of national sale days

Since building the website, Auclair says not only out-of-town customers view the online catalogue, but Ponoka residents will access the site and call ahead before coming to the store. The business has been able to take advantage of big sale days such as Boxing Day and the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce’s Almost Midnight Madness.

In previous years, the store would be closed on Boxing Day but shoppers would still be able to make orders.

Auclair says they were not prepared in their first year for Almost Midnight Madness. They had lines going out the door. “It was insane,” she joked.

The main goal is to offer what clients are looking for and Auclair says they usually only order one size run of a clothing style. The next step for Auclair and Finkbeiner is to enhance the services of the online catalogue.

This will take some investment in equipment and software on their part but the process will be smoother, not only for them but for their customers. Auclair added that their local customers have been quite faithful.

“We appreciate the loyalty of Ponoka,” she concluded.