February 22, 2021
This is part of a series highlighting pilot programs that are being offered at no cost to main street businesses through the Digital Main Street and ventureLAB collaboration through the Community Collaboration Program. Funding for this program is made available in part through the Digital Main Street Future Proof program, with support from Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).
Wrmth, a technology startup based out of Markham, is now offering 100% Canadian designed and manufactured heated outdoor furniture, the first of its kind. With local restaurants and cafes searching for innovative ways to extend the patio season, Wrmth’s chairs create ‘Hotspots’, a cheaper and more eco-friendly alternative to keeping guests warm than traditional space heating options. And with three temperature settings and comfortable contours, Wrmth’s Hotspots provides diners a truly custom and relaxing dining experience while increasing the restaurant owner’s capacity. These chairs will soon be lining the patios of local main streets. In partnership with ventureLAB and Digital Main Street, this service will be offered free-of-charge to local businesses until March 12, 2021. Orders have been flooding the company, with a similar promotion offered to Simcoe County restaurants.
“Heat the person, not the space” is the premise upon which co-founder Sally Daub developed the Wrmth company. Seeking to provide a proudly Canadian experience, Wrmth’s products are made from modified stone and are offered in a range of colours and patterns inspired by Canadian rock. Daub pitched the idea to a panel of public and private sector judges at ventureLAB’s annual Made In York Region Pitch Competition, where she won $15,000 to offer the chairs free-of-charge to local businesses in York Region. Following that success, she won an additional $7,000 at the Rural Innovation Challenge to help main street businesses in Simcoe County.
According to Mayor Frank Scarpitti of Markham, “Expanding patios will … allow [restaurants, bars and cafes] to meet physical distancing and hygiene guidelines.” and as such the City conditionally extended the patio season until December 31, 2020.
Once the province-wide lockdown has lifted, restaurants and cafes will be welcoming their guests once more and looking to open their patios. Wrmth’s Hotspot chairs will enable them to accommodate more guests safely.
There are three opportunities remaining as part of this project to onboard York Region businesses free-of-charge. Click here to join.