How an Ontario REALTOR® took his passion for the City of Orillia and used it to support local businesses and families in his community.

For REALTOR® Jordan Rossman with The Rossman Team, Orillia is the greatest city on the planet. From fundraising for local families, to gift card giveaways, Jordan is doing what he can to give back to the city that has given him so much.

We were lucky enough to connect with Jordan to hear about his initiatives to support local businesses before and during COVID-19, as well as his recent support for Dan Wadsworth, an Orillian dealing with stage 4 cancer.

This is Jordan’s Real Heart story.

Q: Tell us about your project ‘Why Orillia?’ What’s the initiative about and what has it done for your community?

A: ‘Why Orillia?’ is something I started in 2018, where I go out and interview all sorts of local businesses in Orillia.

The idea was to do a video interview of a local business every week, profile them and give them exposure for no charge. This has nothing to do with real estate – I never introduce myself as a REALTOR® and never talk about my business. This is about the community.

Our first milestone was doing 50 businesses in 50 weeks. Just before COVID-19, we got close to 100 videos. The videos were getting thousands of views, which was huge for the businesses we were profiling. We heard their sales were going through the roof and we began to develop a loyal fan base who would visit these businesses as soon as an episode went live.

We ranged from coffee shops, to woodworking places, to all different types of restaurants. My passion is the City of Orillia. That’s why ‘Why Orillia?’ matters to me. My community is amazing, and I want to show it off. I want to help them build and become as successful as they deserve to be.

Q: Can you tell us more about your initiative to support Orillia restaurants? How has COVID-19 impacted the small mom-and-pop shops in your community and what are you doing to support them?

A: It’s tough.

Our local restaurant owners are doing a fantastic job of adapting and doing what they need to do to stay afloat. What’s amazing to me is their positive spirit. The pandemic has been tough on them. They open, they close, they open again, and now they are back to being closed. We have some amazing restaurants here and I believe this is one of the things that has put Orillia on the map.

In recent years, I’ve seen some great people open up restaurants, and to see them struggle sucks.

My team and I felt it was important to help our local restaurants, so we started doing gift card giveaways. We buy $500 worth of gift cards from a local restaurant and give them away to people in the community. Our hope is to spark more business and get more people to order from some of our great local restaurants. We’ve pledged to do this every week with a new restaurant until the Stay-at-Home orders are lifted.

I believe gratitude is an action word – you can’t just say you’re grateful. Gratitude is a verb; you have to do something to show it. Right now, it’s restaurants that need our help. Knowing that we can guarantee one restaurant $500 in sales for one week means the world to me.

Q: Now, tell us about your involvement with the Wadsworth family. How did you hear about Dan Wadsworth’s story and why did you get involved?

A: It began with a good friend of mine, Michelle LaFramboise, who owns Orillia Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation with her husband, Lucas.

She’s worked closely with Dan Wadsworth, who has been battling stage 4 cancer for almost two years now. Dan and his family needed help raising funds for his treatments and Michelle wanted to find a way to rally community support. My real estate agency regularly held fundraisers and events in the past and Michelle wanted to collaborate in hopes of raising money for the Wadsworths.

When Michelle began to tell me about Dan’s story, I quickly realized he was a past client of mine. I helped his family purchase their house in Orillia not too long ago. As soon as I made this connection, his story hit home even more. Michelle and I went right to work and launched Lunges for Wadsworth.

It was a great initiative that brought the community together. How it worked was someone would go into Orillia Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and for every $10 donated, someone on her staff would do 50 lunges. The community support was tremendous. In no time we raised our first $1,000, which The Rossman Team personally matched.

In Orillia, we rally around each other. It’s in our DNA to support one another and build each other up. Although the Lunges for Wadsworth initiative is now over, you can still donate to support the Wadsworth family through their Go Fund Me campaign.

Q: How did this sense of community play a part in your donation to the Wadsworth family? How has being a REALTOR® shaped this mentality?

A: It’s all about being a small community.

As a local agent, running a local team, we always have a lot of support from our community. People here are proud to shop local and they apply this mentality towards real estate as well.

I’ve been incredibly grateful that people here have chosen to do work with us. I learned if you have a community that’s got your back when you need them, then you need to show up when they need you.

I find that REALTORS® are naturally involved in their communities, one way or another.

When you first get your real estate licence, especially in a small community, your first thought is, what now? How do I go and meet people? For me, it’s all about getting involved. Join local charities, become a mentor or fundraise. Give to your community and they will give back to you.

Q: What’s your advice to those looking to get involved in their community?

A: Firstly, I want to say that putting in community work is just that – work. That said, I think it’s really important for people to focus on something that is near and dear to their heart so the motivation can come naturally.

Like I mentioned before, I think Orillia is the greatest city and people always laugh at me when I say that. But I truly believe it and I became passionate about supporting this great city anyway I can. I found something that drives me, and I understood that to be a great supporter of the community, you don’t have to support every initiative.

My advice is to pick the one thing that you like and figure out how to get involved. It can be volunteering, donating money, or raising awareness. Pick something and just get running. It doesn’t have to change the world – start small and go from there.

It’s also important for REALTORS® to remember this isn’t about self-promotion. Be genuine about it.

For me, this is always about being a member of my community. It’s always about the community and your initiative first.

Q: Who is your inspiration? Is there anyone in your work or in your community that has inspired you to be so involved?

A: My inspiration for all this was actually my grandfather. He was a business owner in Port Colborne, Ontario. It’s a small town like Orillia, and he became an icon of the city. He owned one of the first department stores in Canada and used his success to give back to his community. When families couldn’t afford new clothes for the school year, he always told them to take what they needed and to pay him when they could. He was so fortunate in his own life that he made it a part of himself to always give back when he could. He is what inspires me today. His belief in giving back to your community when they need it the most is how I carry myself here in Orillia.

To learn more about ‘Why Orillia?’ and to watch Jordan’s content, visit the ‘Why Orillia?’ Facebook page. If you want to support the Wadsworth family, please visit the Wadsworth Family Go Fund Me page.