Wedding industry overlooked by Manitoba Bridge Grant

Dresses remained hung, suits went un-buttoned and aisles clear of flower petals.



a dining room filled with furniture and a large window: A wedding venue set up for Mikayla and Athony Bishop is shown on Oct. 31, 2020, at Cooper Cerek Event Center in Blue Ash, Oh.


© Cooper Creek Event Center/Facebook
A wedding venue set up for Mikayla and Athony Bishop is shown on Oct. 31, 2020, at Cooper Cerek Event Center in Blue Ash, Oh.

“Something blue” took on a new meaning when COVID-19 swept Manitoba.

As couples across the province cancelled or rescheduled their weddings — sometimes several times — due to the pandemic, the people behind the scenes also went without an income.

Small businesses across the province saw a glimmer of hope when the Manitoba Bridge Grant was announced by the province Nov. 16 — $5,000 promised before the end of the year, and perhaps again in the new year.

Read more: Manitoba business grant program open for applications: Pallister

Lauren Wiebe, owner of Stone House Creative, said she was thrilled by the news of some financial relief.

“This year what I took home was $15,000, which is horrendous, especially because I work full time and have been working with my clients for two years already,” said Wiebe.

Once in the application process, Wiebe realized it was a different story.

“It was hung up on this, ‘you must have a physical retail space that was closed to customers,'” she said.

A confused Wiebe said she and many others in the industry are speaking up in a Manitoba wedding vendor Facebook group, realizing all the eligibility criteria they do meet isn’t enough.

Wiebe said she sells a product and a service, collects and pays PST and GST, yet still doesn’t qualify because of some brick and mortar.

When answering the eligibility questions on the governments website, this is one of the questions requiring a yes or no answer:

“Do you operate a business that sells goods or services that is located within a recreational facility, gym, fitness centre, museum, library, movie theatre, concert hall, bingo hall, VLT gaming room, or casino that was directed to be closed by a public health order?”

Underneath the question, a note appears stating, “to apply under this category, you must have an established and regular financial expense, such as rent, fee or commission, for the use of the premises or be the full or co-owner of the premises that were ordered closed to the public.”

This is the reason Wiebe and other local vendors are speaking up, sharing the hashtag #MYBUSINESSISNOTAHOBBY.

Wiebe says the vast majority of her 2020 bookings have been postponed to 2021, which accounts for roughly 80 per cent of her revenue.

She said it’s not just a financial loss for this year, but also the next.

“What I can offer clients is a date, and just one date,” said Wiebe. “If I’m booked by a couple for a wedding date, I can’t take on another wedding.”

When looking at her spreadsheets, Wiebe said she postponed roughly $115,000 in 2020 to the 2021 calendar year — or 20 weddings.

“That number will only stay the same if gathering sizes are magically

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Wedding industry feels overlooked by Manitoba Bridge Grant

Dresses remained hung, suits went un-buttoned and aisles clear of flower petals.



a dining room filled with furniture and a large window: A wedding venue set up for Mikayla and Athony Bishop is shown on Oct. 31, 2020, at Cooper Cerek Event Center in Blue Ash, Oh.


© Cooper Creek Event Center/Facebook
A wedding venue set up for Mikayla and Athony Bishop is shown on Oct. 31, 2020, at Cooper Cerek Event Center in Blue Ash, Oh.

“Something blue” took on a new meaning when COVID-19 swept Manitoba.

As couples across the province cancelled or rescheduled their weddings — sometimes several times — due to the pandemic, the people behind the scenes also went without an income.

Small businesses across the province saw a glimmer of hope when the Manitoba Bridge Grant was announced by the province Nov. 16 — $5,000 promised before the end of the year, and perhaps again in the new year.

Read more: Manitoba business grant program open for applications: Pallister

Lauren Wiebe, owner of Stone House Creative, said she was thrilled by the news of some financial relief.

“This year what I took home was $15,000, which is horrendous, especially because I work full time and have been working with my clients for two years already,” said Wiebe.

Once in the application process, Wiebe realized it was a different story.

“It was hung up on this, ‘you must have a physical retail space that was closed to customers,'” she said.

A confused Wiebe said she and many others in the industry are speaking up in a Manitoba wedding vendor Facebook group, realizing all the eligibility criteria they do meet isn’t enough.

Wiebe said she sells a product and a service, collects and pays PST and GST, yet still doesn’t qualify because of some brick and mortar.

When answering the eligibility questions on the governments website, this is one of the questions requiring a yes or no answer:

“Do you operate a business that sells goods or services that is located within a recreational facility, gym, fitness centre, museum, library, movie theatre, concert hall, bingo hall, VLT gaming room, or casino that was directed to be closed by a public health order?”

Underneath the question, a note appears stating, “to apply under this category, you must have an established and regular financial expense, such as rent, fee or commission, for the use of the premises or be the full or co-owner of the premises that were ordered closed to the public.”

This is the reason Wiebe and other local vendors are speaking up, sharing the hashtag #MYBUSINESSISNOTAHOBBY.

Wiebe says the vast majority of her 2020 bookings have been postponed to 2021, which accounts for roughly 80 per cent of her revenue.

She said it’s not just a financial loss for this year, but also the next.

“What I can offer clients is a date, and just one date,” said Wiebe. “If I’m booked by a couple for a wedding date, I can’t take on another wedding.”

When looking at her spreadsheets, Wiebe said she postponed roughly $115,000 in 2020 to the 2021 calendar year — or 20 weddings.

“That number will only stay the same if gathering sizes are magically

Read more

A BRIDGE, A GIFT PROJECT

Court Theatre and the University of Chicago Launch ARTISTS & ELDERS: A BRIDGE, A GIFT PROJECT

Court Theatre, under the continuing leadership of Charles Newell, Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director, and Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre, presents a virtual presentation, Artists & Elders: A Bridge, A Gift, on December 10, 2020 at 7pm CST to mark the culmination of their collaboration with the Experimental Performance Initiative and For You.

After Court Theatre’s production of The Lady from the Sea closed due to COVID-19, Court teamed up with the Experimental Performance Initiative,Lady from the Sea choreographer Erika Chong Shuch and her colleagues from For You to connect ten artists with ten elders in Chicago.

Drawing on dramaturgy from director Shana Cooper’s vision for the play, these artists looked for beacons of hope in their connections with strangers. As a form of creative mutual aid, this project offered artists and elders the chance to connect while sheltering in place, create an artistic exchange in the spirit of gift-giving and inspire new forms of distant socializing.

Thinking about this project, Artistic Director Charles Newell shares, “I’m thrilled that Court’s canceled production of Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea has found new life as the inspiration behind such a dynamic partnership. Together with For You, Hyde Park Arts Center, and the Experimental Performance Initiative, Court has been able to spark meaningful artistic experiences in the lives of others.”

For You’s Erika Chong Shuch reflects, “We are all finding new ways to make art, connection, and meaning. The many complexities of 2020 have asked us to reconsider what building community looks like, to rethink impact, and to reimagine how we might move forward with renewed purpose. We’re grateful that Court and eXp have invited For You into their respective families as we all consider how our field’s future will unfold. The artists & elders that we’ve met through this collaboration have energized and delighted us and one another. We hope this is only the beginning.”

Court’s Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre adds, “As a form of creative mutual aid, Artists & Elders: A Bridge, A Gift illustrates the power all artforms have to brighten the lives of others. For artists and neighbors alike, this virtual program offered connection and hope during a difficult year for all.”

Speakers at the online event will offer insight and stories from their time collaborating on Artists & Elders. Featured speakers and topics include Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson discussing his work expanding community engagement at Court; Sarah Curran on the Experimental Performance Initiative at University of Chicago; Ryan Tacata and Rowena Richie from For You; Shana Cooper on how artists are shifting roles to meet the current moment; and several participants reflecting on their creative process.

The works created during Artists & Elders: A Bridge, A Gift can be viewed in a digital gallery at www.CourtTheatre.org/ABridgeAGift

To register for the free event on December 10 at 7pm CST, visit www.CourtTheatre.org.

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Toppen Shopping Centre unveils plans for pedestrian bridge and welcomes new offerings

JOHOR BAHRU, Malaysia, Nov. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Toppen Shopping Centre has unveiled its plans for a new pedestrian bridge that will link its centre to a neighbouring retail complex, effectively making the shopping experience for visitors even better. Going over the busy Persiaran Bandar Desa Tebrau, the 86-metre elevated pedestrian bridge will enable the community to travel safely and easily between Toppen and AEON Tebrau.

The community offerings at The Topp such as rock-climbing wall, skate park and water park have recently reopened to the public. (PRNewsfoto/Toppen Shopping Centre)

A Walkway to Bridge Physical Distance

With early approval from the Johor Bahru City Council, the pedestrian bridge will connect Toppen’s sheltered bus stop to AEON’s outdoor parking space. Construction of the bridge started in early August and is expected to be completed by January 2021. The covered bridge will provide shoppers and employees with a more convenient and safer alternative to crossing the current busy eight-lane roadway.

“As we approach our first anniversary, we remain committed to our vision of being the heart and hub of the Johor Bahru community. We are always looking at new ways to improve accessibility in and around our centre, including Tebrau as a whole,” said Joakim Hogsander, General Manager of Toppen Shopping Centre. “With the high volume of shoppers and residents in the area, we see this new feature benefiting the community whether they are visiting us, IKEA Tebrau, AEON, or simply crossing over to the other side. We built this pedestrian bridge of our own accord, and we hope that it will benefit the local community as a public amenity for a safer and better tomorrow.”

Introducing New Retail Options Under One Roof ‘Topp’

In spite of Malaysian’s economic challenges during the Movement Control Order (MCO), Toppen continued to welcome 13 new local and independent tenants to offer customers more options in areas of Beauty & Health, Fashion, Food & Beverages (F&B), Furniture & Household, Electrical & Digital Goods as well as some new services. The new tenants are D’Natural, O’Care, Top Secret, Historia Hair Salon, Shoe City, Prestar Jeans, TW Shoes Station, JIRE, SAY CHIZU Hokkaido Cheese Toast, MyeongDong Topokki, My Digital Lock, Segi Ganjaran Money Changer, and ONEXOX.

In September, Toppen introduced its own Beauty & Health space known as Beauty Stories, by Toppen. The area is designed to house a specially curated selection of independent health and beauty brands ranging from beauty, skincare and nailcare, to overall health and wellness.  

“At Ikano Centres, our ambition is to break the traditional retail mould and go beyond just shopping to create a meeting place for the many. Now, more than ever, we know how important it is for people to have easy access to a safe, inspiring place for shopping, eating out, hanging out with friends, playing with the kids and just getting everyday errands done. We are extremely fortunate to have a fantastic mix of tenants who continue to put their trust in us and see the tremendous opportunities to build their businesses at Toppen. With every new opening, we create new job opportunities for Malaysians while filling the needs we

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