A new spa in town • Relieve everyday stress • Whirlpool, In-frared saunas, tanning beds, massage therapy, esthetics • Glacier Spa Center

Alcona Tree Service • We specialize in pruning, trimming, removals, stump grinding, shrub & hedge trimming, portable saw mill

Pets are People Too • The Pet Spa • Professional Grooming in Innisfil.

Fine Line Auto Shine • Putting your car in brand new condition • Special $49 • Nantyr Blvd, Innisfil

We Automate • affordable home automation, wireless security systems • www.weautomate.ca

When I picked up a copy of the homespun combo flyer in Innisfil Township, I had no idea of the incredible story of determination and courage that powers this advertising flyer.

Please let me introduce you to Wayne McGeorge. And the Innisfil Combo Flyer. Once a month a piece of paper 11” by 17”, printed on both sides and folded, is delivered through the post office to every home and business in Innisfil. Contained within its neatly bordered pages is the creativity and co-operation of alot of people.

Wayne McGeorge used to work at a Toronto printing business with his father and his uncle and two of his cousins. “During the slow times of the year we had several customers who couldn’t afford to buy printing from us on their own. But we would take each of their notices and combine them and print them as a flyer. They all wanted to make contact in their home area but couldn’t afford to do the printing individually. By sharing the cost they all benefitted.”

That was 35 years ago and it’s an idea that sat simmering on the back burner for a long time.

Meanwhile Wayne moved to the Alcona area and started a renovation business. He was very busy. His business grew and he and his wife Lise and daughter Lorna built a good life in the area.

And then Wayne was stricken with Multiple Sclerosis.

For a man who’s used to being busy, MS was like a jail cell for Wayne. “I’m in a wheel chair now and when I closed my business I thought I would go crazy. I sat here for a year wondering what I was going to do with myself,” shares Wayne, who says he has such limited mobility that he’s the same as a quadriplegic. Not only do none of his limbs function, but he’s lost 60% of the use of his eyes. While he’s wheel-chair bound, he can’t move around his house because he can’t activate the toggle switch on his wheelchair.

For a busy man, this lack of mobility is like a life sentence.

Wayne muses that the only working part of his body is his voice. With a voice activated telephone and a positive attitude, Wayne’s life is radically changed. And so are the business lives of many others.

“I got thinking... I know the advertising business. I know the printing business. I know that small businesses can’t afford to buy big advertising. And so I started calling people in Innisfil and I talked to the post office and we developed the Combo Flyer. Wayne’s quick to point out that this venture, while not a money-maker, is giving him a reason for living.

He called people from the White Pages and sold them on his idea. He says his group advertising idea started off as a little bit of ‘reach out and touch.’ He combined everybody’s requirements and talked Janet Tonnello of Lakeside Graphics into designing the ads and putting it all together. Wayne isn’t kidding when he says “Janet has been my right arm in all this.”

With his first Combo Flyer in mailboxes in Innisfil, Wayne went back to the phone, developing his good memory about which business wants monthly exposure, which wants twice a year, which wants every two months. He deals with businesses whose customer base is only in Innisfil and he keeps the distribution to Innisfil.

It takes alot of co-operation from several businesses to get the Combo Flyer into production, off to Mark-Add Printing, folded and into mailboxes every month, because Wayne can do none of that. He’s the voice, the salesperson and he now has 45 to 50 different customers who want to be included in his flyer every month.

How do people pay? Well, they share in the cost of producing the flyer so the cost is very low. “I’m not trying to make a living out of this; I’m trying to keep myself sane,” says Wayne. “I do it all out of my living room in Alcona Beach.” Does he meet customers in person? Only if they come to his house to make their financial contribution. He can’t go out to see them.

This is really a case of Win-Win-Win, if ever there was one. The small businesses win because they get advertising they could never afford to buy on their own. The general public wins because they get to do business with their neighbours. And Wayne wins. Big time.

“This has certainly been life changing for me. I was very concerned about starting to lose my mind with nothing on me working. This has sure been therapy from that point of view. If I could get on my wheels and roll into people’s houses, I’d turn this into a business. I’d expand the market. But not now. It’s a service.”

Wow! Thanks, Wayne.

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