Both the weather and the pandemic cooperated with the organizing committee for the Southwest Business & Entrepreneur Show in Souris this past week. 

The Wednesday event brought business owners, council members and community stakeholders from near and far to learn more about how to better their businesses, and their community as a whole. 

Local Souris business-owner, Kathleen Lagasse, attended and participated in the breakout sessions and key note address. 

“The day went really well, I was pleased and I did learn a lot of things,” she shares. “There’s always things to learn in the business world and I’m always learning. I’m going home with some great ideas!”  

For over 30 years, Lagasse has been an avid and inspiring artist in her community. For the last 10 years she has been sharing her expertise with others of all ages, and in many mediums in the art world. Opening up her own Souris gallery on Crescent Avenue just over 7 years ago, Kathleen also showcases the work of over 180 Manitoba artisans, as well as artisans from neighboring Provinces.  

Lagasse says she enjoyed the presentation by the ‘Small Town Rising' duo, Leslie Fournier and Gregg McLauchlan. The day before, she had met the pair during their town-wide walk-about with Souris council members and community stakeholders. 

Through their presentation and break-out sessions, ideas were shared on how to beautify rural downtown areas, what to do with open spaces, how to draw potential customers off the sidewalk and through your store doors. “It was about color, and eye-appeal, and attractiveness, and I think for Souris, we’re already on that path!” 

“They were really impressed with what they were seeing,” adds Lagasse. “Of course, there were still things we could improve on, but they were amazed with our town! We were already doing some of this stuff.” 

Lagasse attributes the success of Souris' economy to their Chamber of Commerce, with 108 local businesses participating. “A thousand population for this town and we have over a hundred members!” 

“And we all support each other,” she adds. “We’re always supportive of the other businesses and if other towns can be like that, and not be cut-throat and competitive, and just be very supportive of your friendly neighborhood businesses down the street, you know what? It does go a long way!” 

Listen to more of the audio with Souris business owner, Kathleen Lagasse, and CJRB’s Betty Sawatzky below.