Welcome to our Agency Spotlight series! Each article will feature pioneers of the #agencylife and how they run their businesses in the modern world.

Peggy Harnock is the CEO of The Social Gourmet, a boutique agency helping small businesses grow their online presence. Peggy and her team have been clients of HeyOrca since 2018 and have been instrumental in growing our online community. Peggy has been a Founding Member of our Life in Social Facebook group and continuously helps out others living the #agencylife.

Who are you? What is your background?

Entrepreneurship is truly a winding road, and I started my journey more than 10 years ago as a dance studio owner, after many years as a professional ballroom dancer.

After building an online community via Facebook for my students to connect and share, that “community” became the basis for more than 60% of my new and retained student base over the next 2 years. This was what solidified with me that trust-building and community-building were more important for small businesses than traditional marketing.

I spent the next several years in various marketing roles honing my social media skills, and was confronted again and again with the fact that big box marketing does not work for small businesses. Out of this frustration, and my desire to help small businesses grow, The Social Gourmet was born.

How would you describe The Social Gourmet?

We are a boutique agency in the heart of Niagara wine country in Ontario, Canada. (Yay for wine!) We work exclusively with entrepreneurs and small business owners to help them build and manage their online communities. We understand that building and growing a small business is a marathon, not a sprint, and we endeavour to work with clients who understand this process. The same patience and hard work that goes into growing a business, goes into growing a successful social media presence for that business.

What does The Social Gourmet do especially well? What is your speciality?

The Social Gourmet makes no secret of the fact that we are not a traditional social media agency. Our speciality is trust-building and community-building, with paid social ads being a secondary (and sometimes unnecessary) part of our clients’ social strategies. Building trust with your online community is the best way to grow a business long term, and the clients who come to us are looking for something outside of the traditional marketing bubble.

Peggy and Katie (Social Gourmet Business Development Manager) at their Community Garden in Grimsby, Ontario.

How would you describe your workplace/office culture?

As I type this, I am wearing ripped jeans and eating dry cereal. Oh the glamour! Ha! In all seriousness, we are a casual agency and our clients feel comfortable knowing they can be themselves when they come to see us. Our office is located in a century home (built in 1880) in beautiful downtown Grimsby, Ontario, that has recently been converted to professional office space. We believe authenticity is key, and try to show that in our office culture and our dealings with clients and potential clients.

What are you most proud of that your agency has done?

Hmmmmmm, this is a tough one! I guess the thing I’m most proud of is the wide variety of industries our clients come to us from. We’ve worked with a broad spectrum of clients from industries that include real estate and mortgage financing, construction, Chambers of Commerce, to dance studios and tennis academies. At the end of the day, they all succeed (both online and off) because of the trust and sense of community they have built. And we love that!


Want to showcase your agency? Email us at hey@heyorca.com to have your agency feature in our Agency Spotlight series!

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