Shoppers urged to stay local

THUNDER BAY, ONT. — With the Christmas shopping season upon us, the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce is once again reminding people to shop local. The chamber’s 2022 #ChooseTBayFirst holiday campaign is underway and is aimed at bringing awareness to the importance of shopping local and how every local purchase impacts our community.

Charla Robinson, chamber president says shoppers are being encouraged to explore Thunder Bay’s business community and share their local purchases by using the hashtag #ChooseTBayFirst when posting (their local purchases) to social media until Dec. 1. Participants in the contest have a chance to win $1,000 in local gift certificates.

Robinson says the campaign is in its sixth year and is a good way to remind people of the importance of keeping those shopping dollars local.

“Spending money here means that those dollars are staying here versus if you’re sending it elsewhere through E-shopping,” she said. “Those dollars don’t stay here in the community.”

Yet, COVID pandemic restrictions over the last two years have spurred a number of local businesses to pivot and transition their sales online to allow people to shop safely through the brunt of the pandemic. Most of these businesses continue to maintain their online presence as a way to boost sales and reach a larger market.

“There’s a lot more online shopping options for local businesses, because they’ve made those investments during that time of the pandemic,” Robinson said. “That’s another way to do some (window shopping) to see what’s available before you actually go out and do your in-person shopping . . . which you can do locally online as well.

Robinson says local businesses are the ones providing jobs for people.

“Their businesses support local charities, local sports programs, dance groups and all of those organizations that look to local businesses for sponsorship throughout the year,” she said.

Shoppers, meanwhile, are urged to take a photograph of their local purchase or of themselves making the purchase and post it on social media.

“Everybody using the hashtag #ChooseTBayFirst will be entered into the draw for the $1,000 local gift certificates,” she said. “The gift certificates will be for the business that the winner chooses — so you’re going to get to spend more money at the places that you love that are local.”

Visit www.choosetbayfirst.ca for more information on the contest which closes on Dec.1.

Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal