Business owners say buying local is more important than ever this year

·2 min read

The City of Calgary launched a buy local campaign last year to get more dollars flowing into local businesses and support the city's economic recovery.

But in 2020, with the pandemic further impacting the bottom lines of businesses across the city, business owners say that message is more important than ever.

Businesses can utilize the city's free toolkit, which includes marketing tips, print posters and other strategies intended to help get customers in the door.

Natasha Qereshniku with the city's business and local economy team said the buy local campaign is aimed at creating more awareness around how to support small business.

Qereshniku said that if Calgarians find a local option within their budget for a desired service or product, they should jump at it.

Competing with big box stores

Whitney Titheridge, owner of Crabapple Clothing Company in Marda Loop, said it hasn't been easy competing with big box store deals — but added she is doing her best.

"Honestly, as soon as we're on sale, we are no longer making money," Titheridge said. "So it's just something to try and drive traffic and then try to bring people in, and maybe they'll purchase some regular merchandise at the same time."

Terri Trembath/CBC
Terri Trembath/CBC

Small businesses also have to cope with the latest COVID-19 health restrictions. Starting Friday, they are required to operate at 25 per cent capacity, which makes buying local crucial.

"Let's shout it from the rooftops," Titheridge said. "I do think people are listening. I just think we have to make it a priority."

The city encourages customers to use the #SupportLocalYYC hashtag throughout the holiday season to promote their favourite Calgary businesses and services.

Calgary shopper Cam Collingwood said online shopping hasn't helped out many local businesses in recent years, adding that he thinks they need as much support as possible right now.

"It's those big brands that are offering those great discounts and whatnot," Collingwood said. "So I think it's important for people to not just focus on Black Friday, but go out before and after Black Friday to the local shops and get it done.

"Plan ahead — don't just get it done online last minute. Support the local shops."