Just as the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the health of individuals differently, small businesses in the Tri-Cities region have been impacted in varied degrees of severity.
“Some are doing well by adapting and are thriving through this period. But many are struggling, even with the support from the various levels of government,” says Michael Hind, chief executive officer with the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce.
To help those that have experienced difficulties, the chamber has helped form the Tri-Local Collective.
“We’ve created this group to help educate consumers and the local community to emphasize how important it is to support local businesses, and the impact it has on the community in terms of hiring and re-investing money—essentially the economic cycle on a local scale,” Hind says. “The aim is to increase customer traffic through their front doors, traffic on their websites and social media, and to ultimately put more dollars into their businesses.
To accomplish this, campaigns are being run through the Tri-Local program, which is a partnership of the local cities andsix different organizations from the Tri-Cities area.
Other groups making up the Tri-Local program include Shop Local Port Moody, Austin Heights BIA, Downtown Port Coquitlam BIA, Port Moody & Co., and the Tri-City News.
“Together, we are working to lead this initiative, which includes a holiday campaign encouraging the public to shop local, whether that’s in-store or online,” Hind says. “A lot of small, local businesses now have websites that offer shopping online or purchasing of gift cards.”
In the new year, a dine-out program will be launched to give area cafes and restaurants a boost.
“That is designed to create more exposure during the traditionally slower months in the spring,” Hind says.
Other contests and prize giveaways will round out the shop local efforts, encouraging customers to share their local shopping experiences through reviews that will act as contest entries.
“People are certainly making a conscious effort to support their local communities,” Hind says. “As a result, a lot of people are discovering and re-discovering new experiences in their own backyard.
“And we are working to be the avenue for more of that to happen.”
For more information about how you can support businesses in your community, visit trilocal.ca.