As the 10th annual BC Buy Local Week kicked off on Nov. 29, the Sunshine Coast Business Recovery Centre marked its second year of participation in the locally-focused shopping campaign and an online gift card program.
Amy Robinson, the executive director of LOCO BC, said the Coast’s first year of Buy Local Week in 2020 went pretty well, with multiple Sunshine Coast communities getting involved.
Local supports local
This year’s Buy Local Week focuses on “7 Ways in 7 Days” to support local businesses. Suggestions include giving experience-based gifts, such as a spa treatment, buying ingredients and local beverages, and purchasing gift cards to local stores. These options help avoid shipping costs and potential delays, while supporting local businesses.
According to LOCO BC, locally-owned businesses recycle approximately 63 per cent of their revenue back into the local economy, compared to 14 per cent by multinational corporations, thus creating 4.6 times the economic impact with every dollar earned.
Spending money locally helps create and keep jobs in the community, and generates tax dollars and donations to local initiatives.
“The philanthropic giving is off the charts for local businesses to really keep our communities more resilient,” Robinson said.
A new study from LOCO BC and VanCity also shows there is an environmental impact to buying local. While LOCO BC has published studies looking at the economic impact of shopping local in 2013 and 2019, this year’s report explored the carbon footprint aspect for the first time.
The report chose five products to compare - a latte, bread, blueberries, a dress, and a bike - and discovered that locally grown or made products “results in a greenhouse gas reduction benefit of between 5% and 66% compared to imported products.”
Keep it Coastal
While the provincial Buy Local Week runs until Dec. 5, the Sunshine Coast Business Recovery Centre launched the Keep it Coastal campaign on Nov. 26 to encourage longer-term local shopping. It will last through the holiday season and beyond.
“It is important to support local businesses as often as possible when making purchasing decisions. Keeping your money here on the Coast is key to the long-term economic health of our community," Yarrow Drtina, the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Organization (SCREDO) small business programs manager, told Coast Reporter.
The Sunshine Coast Business Recovery Centre has also begun several initiatives to promote local online shopping, as local businesses pivoted during the pandemic to help people who can not or do not want to shop in-person access local goods.
Sunshine Coast businesses can be found online at marketplacebc.ca/sunshine-coast. The business recovery centre also partnered with Support Local BC in 2020 for their gift card program, which allows people to buy specific or general gift cards to approximately 100 businesses on the Coast. (Find participating businesses at supportlocalbc.com/collections/sunshine-coast.)
Since the launch of the gift cards in response to the pandemic, British Columbians have spent more than $1.3 million in gift certificate purchases across nearly 1,800 businesses and 110 communities.
Drtina said the gift cards are a good option as a present for someone who is difficult to buy for, or for employees when a general option may be more appropriate.
Find more information and opportunities to spend locally at www.scbrc.ca/keepitcoastal and bcbuylocal.com/why-local.