Economic Development

Whether relocating, expanding, seeking new opportunities, or just visiting, Zorra is a great place to be. Located in Southwestern Ontario, Zorra is strategically located to serve the commercial, industrial and residential needs of the people within the region.  Easy access to markets is available through the 401, 402 and 403 highways, connecting Zorra to major cities throughout Ontario and the US. Home to some of the best agricultural land in Canada, Zorra offers a scenic landscape of rolling hills, farms and rivers.

The two serviced villages of Embro and Thamesford offer a variety of businesses and services, allowing for convenience in a rural setting.  The Township of Zorra has a diversified economy, with the majority of businesses in the agricultural, construction, retail trade and transportation industries. The Township contains many community groups that are dedicated to improving and maintaining the quality of life in their Townships.

Driving Distances:

Kitchener/Waterloo - 1 hour

London - 30 minutes

Stratford - 40 minutes

Sarnia - 1 hour, 30 minutes

Toronto - 2 hours

Buffalo - 3 hours

Detroit - 3 hours


The Rural Oxford Economic Development Corporation (ROEDC)

ROEDC logo

The Township of Zorra has partnered with the Townships of East Zorra-Tavistock, Norwich and South-West Oxford to form an economic development corporation to serve rural Oxford. The Rural Oxford Economic Development Corporation (ROEDC) has been established to direct the overall economic development direction and activities for Rural Oxford. Established throughout 2013-14, the Board has finalized incorporation, engaged an economic development professional to lead the organization, and is now ready to implement strategies to support rural business growth.

For more information, please contact Bernia Wheaton, Economic Development Officer, ROEDC at 226-228-8283.  Send Bernia an emailVisit the ROEDC website.


Zorra Oxford Fresh Entrance Sign Program

Project Background:

Rural Oxford Economic Development submitted a successful application to Community Futures to increase awareness of farms in Zorra Township that are selling direct to consumers. This one year project will coordinate a laneway signage program for farm gate, test way-finding signage and increase awareness of where to shop locally through a marketing campaign. If this program is successful, aspects of it will be considered to roll-out across Oxford County.

Oxford Fresh Entrance Sign Program:

The purpose of this program is assist more farm gate in having an entrance sign at their property. All signs will also have a unified look making it easy for people to recognize it is a farm gate business. The signs will help advertise your business but also help people find you when driving to your location.

This program is focusing on smaller farms primarily selling what they grow. As these are typically smaller operations people can use some guidance on where to go on the property. Drive up your laneway with a fresh set of eyes. How many doors or buildings could people approach, where do they park, how can they tell if you are open for business, once inside how can they pay? Helping them find their way onto and through your property is your first step in welcoming them. Therefore each farm participating in this signage program must meet the following basic requirements for customer service.

Criteria:

  • Farms must be selling what they grow. They can have up to 6 items from other Ontario farms also for sale but they must be signed stating where they are from. We encourage farms to use this opportunity to tell the local food story of these items (e.g. farm name, town/region, is it a relatives farm, is it a farm that buys from you or sells your product)
  • Have signage installed indicating:
    • Retail shop entrance (e.g. on the doorway)
    • If regular hours are held, a sign at the entrance indicating open or closed and what regular hours are
    • Identifying where to park
  • If by appointment: you need signage at the entrance saying this and providing a phone number or website for people to connect with you. You may want to consider including this text on your road sign as well. 
  • Display the Oxford Fresh maps in your retail space. By sharing this map of other local producers we grow stronger together promoting nearby shops people can visit.

Click here to open the application form for the Farm Gate Signage Program.

Business Retention and Expansion

In 2011-2012, the Township of Zorra partnered with the rural Oxford townships (Blandford-Blenheim, East Zorra-Tavistock, Norwich and South-West Oxford) to create ROED, Rural Oxford Economic Development. This was a temporary project which created a Business Retention and Expansion project to enhance local businesses and economic prosperity.

 

The program worked to improve the competitiveness of local businesses by addressing their concerns and needs through a confidential interview process. The interview process was a structured visitation program that included a survey conducted by volunteers to identify issues and opportunities. The analysis of the survey results was used to develop a series of strategic actions that will assist to address the concerns indicated within the survey.

 

The overall goals of conducting a BR+E are as follows:

 

• Address urgent business issues

• Improve and grow the relationships between local businesses and the community

• Retention of businesses and jobs

• Improvement of business and community competitiveness

For more information please visit the ROED website OR view the Rural Oxford Business Retention and Expansion Final Report and Action Plan.

South Central Ontario Region Economic Development Corporation

The South Central Ontario Region (SCOR) Economic Development Corporation is a regional partnership comprised of the County of Brant, Elgin County, Middlesex County, Norfolk County and Oxford County. SCOR was incorporated in 2010 as a means to provide planning and coordination for regional issues, implement regional economic development priorities, identify funding sources and to partner with other levels of government, and act as a regional catalyst for investment.

 Visit SCOR's website to view various studies, annual reports and quarterly reports, as well as other useful links and information.

Visit the Business Portal for business opportunities, workshops for businesses and employment opportunities.