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Wireless in Collingwood (Posted On: Tuesday, January 22, 2008)

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As a local businessperson, as well as someone who travels fairly frequently, one of the things I want to know is who has wireless Internet?   The choices available affect where I will meet for a business lunch and when I am traveling, I want to know where the closest Internet Café is if I am traveling abroad and not bringing my laptop.

Collingwood and surrounds besides being recognized for the natural beauty, very interesting history


and multitude of things to see and do for both locals and as a tourist destination,  can also be recognized as a place where people have chosen to migrate to from larger urban areas. 

With this migration comes a plethora of entrepreneurial types who operate a business out of a home office and find themselves arranging business meetings or luncheons where access to the Internet is a helpful and sometimes necessary business tool.

With that in mind, we have compiled a list of great places to meet, have lunch, wine, dine and schmooze or just talk business over a great cup of coffee.

Here are our top picks for your web-connected lunch.

East Side

Catch 22 Fresh Market Grill – offers wireless Internet access with no charge.  Offers an absolutely fantastic range of lunch items to choose from sure to please.  Large tables and lots of privacy if needed.  10138 Highway 26 East, Collingwood ON, L9Y 5E8, Phone: 705.446.9922

Blue Mountain Honda - offers wireless Internet access with no charge.  Relax in their customer waiting area while your Honda (or other vehicle) is being serviced and bring your own sandwich.  You can find them at 12 Eva Crescent in Collingwood.

Central

Boston Pizza – offers wireless Internet access with no charge or password required.  A wide-ranging menu, fast service and large tables make this a great venue for a business meeting.  Booths are private enough that you don’t have to worry about the person at the next table. 390 First Street, Collingwood, Phone: 705.443.8776.

East Side Mario’s – Badda boom badda bing.  Wireless Internet with no charge or password required. 499 First Street, Collingwood, Phone: 705.444.8292.

Café Chartreuse – this is the place for the breakfast or lunch meeting with Parisian flair.  You place your order at the counter, take your selection with you if it is one of the fresh daily specials in the display case or take a number to your table - your breakfast or lunch is delivered.  Warning…if you order the delicious pancakes with maple butter, you may require what I like to call a ‘pancake nap’ after your breakfast meeting.  Wireless Internet is offered with password required and a 2-hour time limit.  Café Chartreuse is extremely popular and it can be a bit noisy at peak periods.  If you want to get the most out of your business lunch, schedule it for 11:30am. 70 Hurontario Street, Collingwood, Phone: 705.444.0099.

Tesoro’s – offers fantastic Italian cuisine with special dietary options available.  An excellent choice if you don’t know what type of food your client prefers.  There is something on the menu to please even the most picky or dietary restricted diners.  Wireless Internet is available, but the signal strength can be hit and miss sometimes, so if you need to show on-line stats or a presentation it’s a good idea to have a hard copy with you…just in case. 18 School House Lane, Collingwood, Phone: 705.444.9230.

Starbucks as always is a trendy and well-recognized location.  It’s just a thing that people do…meet you at Starbucks?  This works especially well if you’re meeting clients from outside of town.  You can’t miss either location on First Street or in The Village at Blue.  Wireless is available with a credit card fee to Teles.  Table space is small and when busy noisy.

Ashanti Coffee – Collingwood - The best coffee in the land! Roasted on premises. Table space is limited so this may be the case of actually using your laptop on your laptop. 1st Street.

Thornbury

The Dam Pub – Thornbury - Open for lunch and dinner, no password required.  The Dam Pub is a busy place, especially during peak periods but there is always a cozy quite corner available. 53 Bruce Street South, Thornbury, Phone: 519-599 2110.

Ashanti Coffee – Thornbury - The best coffee in the land!  Roasted on premises.  Table space is limited so this may be the case of actually using your laptop on your laptop. 39 Bruce Street, Thornbury, Phone: 519.599.5615

The Mill Cafe - Thornbury - The first restaurant to offer wireless in Thornbury.  First time users receive a password from their server.  While you're asking for the password...ask for the eggs benny too (Sundays). 12 Bridge Street East, Thornbury, 519.599.7866

The Village at Blue

Twist Martini Lounge -  Features a wonderful tapas menu to awaken your culinary desire. With over 120 wines to choose from and a Martini menu with over 40 selections, Twist is the perfect place to wine and dine or just schmooze away the afternoon. The Village at Blue, 170 Jozo Weider Blvd. Collingwood, Phone: 705.445.5000

Kaytoo Restaurant and Bar -  A great venue for two or two hundred.  Kaytoo has corporate event planners available to assist you in planning the perfect corporate event and is a great central meeting location for any of your contacts visiting the Village at Blue.  176 Joso Weider Blvd.The Village At Blue Mountain, Phone: 705.445.4100

Accommodations

Cranberry Resort and Conference Centre - Ideally situated between the waters of Georgian Bay and the foot of Blue Mountain, Cranberry Resort is picture perfect.  Cranberry has facilities for lunch or dinner and guests are offered free wireless. 19 Keith Avenue (just off Highway 26 W.), Collingwood, Phone: 705.445.6600

Business Lunch Etiquette

So now you know the place…let’s talk about some business lunch etiquette.  It actually amazes me the number of people who have zero etiquette with respect to business lunches.  So here are a few pointers:

Be respectful to both your guest and to the owners of the establishment where you are having your business lunch. 

With respect to your guest, that means give them time to get settled, cruise through the menu, hang their coat if appropriate and if someone you know comes to the table to say hi during lunch, don’t forget to introduce your guest.  I like to dine over small talk and then launch into my sales pitch once the dishes are cleared away.

Ask your guest what their day is like; if they are pressed for time then adjust your pace accordingly.  You don’t want to get through lunch and find that they need to bolt to make another appointment on time before you’ve had a chance to cover off why you’re having the business lunch in the first place.

If you’re the person approaching the table to say ‘hello’ and it looks like it’s a business meeting you’re interrupting, say hi and then move on.

Don’t forget that the restaurants and coffee shops are in business to make money…so yes it’s nice that you have chosen their venue to bring your guests, but hanging around taking up table space during prime hours like the lunch rush while you nurse a latte for three hours is a bit much.  It’s actually quite frustrating and situations like that are the reason people start putting time limits on things.  It’s the old ‘offer an inch and someone takes a mile’.  No one likes that.  If you’re in desperate need to cruise around on the net for 3 hours and can’t get high speed at home…remember there’s always the library…then you won’t have to blow $4 on a latte.

Don’t use the business card of the person you are meeting to pick your teeth with.  This sounds absolutely incredible, but I kid you not, I have actually been in a situation where I have tossed my business card across the table, only to witness its’ subsequent use as tooth picking apparatus.  I won’t bother to give you a dissertation on etiquette and assume if you’re reading this, you know better.

It’s nice that so many restaurants offer wireless for your convenience and obviously recognize it as a competitive advantage but they’re not offering you their power supply.  So if your laptop is running out of battery power and you think you may need to plug in, ask first if it’s ok (don’t assume that because you’ve done it once that you can do it every time).  And for heaven’s sake don’t start unplugging cords to plug your computer in.  Sounds amazing, I know, but I’ve actually seen someone unplug a restaurant’s Christmas lights so they could plug in their laptop.

Turn off your blackberry or your cell phone unless you’re expecting a very important phone call.  No one wants to hear you talk on the phone during lunch (especially if you have food in your mouth – gross).  Keep your cell phone voice down too.  They can hear you and so can everyone else.

Don’t forget to close the meeting by asking for the sale!

Julie Card
Partner
mycollingwood.ca
jcard@mycollingwood.ca

ps. If we’ve missed anyone in this article, please let us know by contacting jcard@mycollingwood.ca so that we can update the article and include your place of business.

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