Digital Storytelling Supports Small Businesses to Transition Into the Virtual World

Mar 11, 2022

Invest Ottawa launched the Digital Main Street (DMS) platform to support small businesses navigating the recent pandemic by transitioning their products and services online. The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) contributed a $42.5 million investment towards this initiative that rolled out over the course of 12 months. Subsequentially, 1,700 business within a multitude of sectors in the Ottawa community were admitted into the program. 

The DMS platform provided entrepreneurs and small businesses support in various capacities including mentorship, advisory, consulting, peer groups, education, and events. The focus of the program was to deliver services that would launch bricks and mortar companies into the digital world, whether that be e-commerce or website development. A component of those services was delivered by the Bayview Yards Prototyping Lab. The Lab provided digital storytelling, photography, and videography services.  

Working with the clients within the Digital Main Street Program was an incredibly rewarding experience. These companies such as food and beverage, packaged goods, fashion, retail, real estate, to name a few is what creates thriving neighbourhoods. I am glad we were able to help local businesses in our community to survive during this challenging period.”Petr Maur: Graphic Designer, Videographer, Photographer at Bayview Yards Prototyping Lab



Digital Main Street (DMS) Small Businesses 

Whether a business is selling pizza or real estate, having professional photographs can make all the difference when telling their authentic and unique brand story. Quality visuals that reflect the individual personality of a brand will help differentiate the products and services of a business within a highly competitive landscape. When transitioning to a virtual model, digital storytelling is an essential consideration to build the online presence of a brand. 

Here’s a look at a few of our DMS clients: 

The Love of Chocolate Factory 

The Love of Chocolate Factory is a local chocolatier based out of the east end of Ottawa. This small business is world renowned for producing over 100 different types of Belgian chocolate, pralines, confectionery, and ice cream.  

The Lab supported this business owner to produce professional images of their products to display on their website, within advertisements, print collateral, and an e-commerce application.  

The photography services helped us promote our products professionally and enabled us to use them for our new online ordering. – Moiz Hassanali, The Love of Chocolate Factory



Batter Up Bakery 

The Batter Up Bakery is a local small business in the Ottawa community baking all kinds of sweets from cookies to wedding cakes. In addition, the bakery offers workshops that guide clients to realize their baking or decorating talents, along with cake tastings, corporate giveaways, and many other services.  

 The tasty delights served up by this entrepreneur were a treat to photograph. Petr captured not only the final delicious product, but also action shots of the team in kitchen doing what they do best. The bakery was in the process of expanding their product offering to include swag, which was particularly important to photograph for their online store included within their website. All in all, working with this client was pretty sweet! 

I met Petr  through the Digital Mainstreet Program. From start to finish, Petr was so great to work with. He reached out in advance of our photoshoot to discuss what I was looking to achieve. Throughout the shoot he assisted us in bringing our vision to life. Working with Petr was an absolute joy and the images we received were beyond our expectations. The turnaround time was so quick and we really did get more than we asked when working with him and his team. We were so lucky to get such great content to use throughout our website and in our social media campaigns.Jamie-Lynn Pokrzywka, Owner & Baker



Phuket Royale  

The authentic Thai restaurant, Phuket Royal, located in the heart of Ottawa’s Chinatown, offers an extensive menu of delicious dishes encompassing Thai Cuisine, Vietnamese Pho, Chinese Barbeque, and Filipino Lechon.  

We were pleased to photograph over 10 dishes for the business to use on their refreshed website, social media, and other printed collateral such as menus and advertisements to name a few. Photographing food is an art form. Quality imagery can make the difference when elevating your brand.  

I was very please to work. Petr, the photographer was very nice and professional in his domain. I love all the foods pictures that was taken. His photograph of my foods menu has brought us more positive feedback from our customers and more business. Thank you so much for your service. – Kung Lim, Phuket Royale




Siam Bistro

Siam Bistro was one of the first Thai restaurants in Ottawa and has been in business for over 30 years. Their menu offers a variety of rich flavours and exotic ingredients imported from Thailand.  

It was important for our photographer, Petr, to not only showcase the beauty of the cuisine served within this restaurant, but also to capture the unique atmosphere and experience that their clients have come to love. We photographed their chefs in action sauteing over flames and incorporated brand elements into the photoshoot. These images were used within the website, social media content, and other promotions. 

Thanks to some brilliant photography services by Petr at Bayview Yards, our restaurant’s new website really came together. Working in partnership with the Digital Main Street program, Bayview Yards made an important contribution to the rebranding of our small business.  Not only was the result a success, but it provided an essential boost to help us through the pandemic.  Petr’s photographs added flavour to our website, spice to our dishes, and warmth to our offering.  We’re very appreciative and would recommend their services without hesitation!Katariya and Martin, Siam Bistro



The small boutique, Adoreit, offers stylish, fair trade fashions and products from across the globe. Sustainable products such as clothing, jewelry, and souvenirs from India, Tibet, Nepal, etc. are sold within the small shop and e-commerce store.  

Petr captured artistic images of the storefront, products, and displays. We also photographed a 360-degree image of the boutique that allows consumers to experience the unique interior as if they were entering the shop. The playful, whimsical atmosphere of this small business was important to instill within these visuals. Bringing that energy to the website helps to convey the personality and essence that is unique to this store. These images will serve as assets on the website, online store, and social media platforms.  

The photography services that Petr provided helped me boost my online presence in many different ways. I was able to promote my business better on social media which in turn boosted online sales and our social profile. I was also able to better showcase on my online store items that previously didn’t have photographs with them. 

I would highly recommend working with Petr as he helped to improve my business both in store and online. He was super friendly and easy to work with. He helped me figure out the best ways to showcase different items and was incredibly talented in the end result with fabulous great pictures.– Emma Innis, Adoreit


Justine Studio 

The Justine Studio is a small, curated boutique for women showcasing fashions from Canadian designers such as Ayrtight, Michi, and Unttld. This female founded small business has been operating since 1981 in the heart of Ottawa’s Byward Market. 

For this photoshoot, we chose to photograph the clothing and accessories on models with the help of a stylist. This approach brings the products to life, allowing consumers to visualize the products when styled together.   

The photography that was featured on my new website was very professional and captured the mood of my clothing brilliantly. Also, the models looked relaxed and beautiful. The photographer got exactly what I wanted with so much patience. Thank you, Petr! Well done!Christine Shaikin, Justine Studio

Lashious Envy 

The Lashious Envy café and beauty salon specializes in everything related to lashes. Clients can receive treatments such as extensions, lifts and tints while enjoying a tasty cappuccino or espresso.  

 We opted to photograph dreamy stills that captured the bright and airy atmosphere of the salon.  In addition, we included portraiture of the business founder performing services on models. 

It was such an amazing experience having the opportunity for professional photos to be done in my Salon/Café bar. It has enormously benefited my business as it allows for me to portray my business as the professional atmosphere that I would like it to be. Having proper content that is professionally done is something that allows customers to see the effort you really put into your business. – Alexa Fahel, Lashious Envy

Mountain Goat Yoga 

The Mountain Goat Yoga studio was founded in Barrhaven in 2003, with the goal of creating a peaceful, serene, and inclusive space to practice the art of yoga. This boutique studio offers yoga services of all kinds inhouse as well as virtually, and operates a small shop selling yoga accessories and clothing. 

We photographed Julie, the founder, during one of her yoga sessions. These pictures showed off not only her yoga skills, but the accessories and apparel available in her shop. Whenever possible, we encourage clients to participate in photoshoots as it can create that added personalization that humanizes their brand. 

Being in front of the camera is not my forte. However, Petr made me feel very comfortable and showed me that every picture is an opportunity to showcase who we are. Our upgrades continue to unfold and with the support of the DMS team, it’s exciting to see it all come together. Thanks to Bayview Yards, we have a great catalog of photos that we can use at a moments notice for marketing and media purposes which we didn’t have before. We were recently showcased in the Barrhaven Independent and due to COVID, could not have someone physically come out to take photos. Not a problem I told them as I had all these wonderful choices from a recent photoshoot thanks to Bayview Yards and Petr. In a time when there is so much uncertainty and stress, it is really comforting to know that I have this new tool at my fingertips to remind people that we are still here despite COVID. This would not have been possible without the DMS team and all their wonderful partners. – Julie Rollwagen, Mountain Goat Yoga


The M9Médias offers services to immigrants who have recently arrived in Canada so that they may have access to information and resources needed for a successful integration.  

We opted to photograph members of the team within their office environment, engaging with potential clients. The team is shown delivering one-on-one consultations and engaging in thoughtful discussion. Ensuring we presented individuals of diverse backgrounds was a key consideration so that clients would resonate with the imagery. These photographs were predominantly used on the company’s website and social media platforms. 

Mastermind Event Rentals 

Mastermind Event Rentals is a family owned and operated business based out of Ottawa since 2007. The small business rents linens, photo booths, chair covers, and a wide range of décor to a variety of clients. 

During the pandemic, we opted to take a different approach to the typical imagery you may find on an event rental website. We wanted to show viewers that they could host fabulous intimate gatherings at their home. We staged a Christmas/New Years Eve dinner party that showcased the quality of their designs. 

Digital storytelling can take your product offering to the next level. Quality photography and videography are worth the investment when building your brand. Let’s discuss how the Bayview Yards Prototyping Lab can tell your brand story digitally today. 

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