When the World Health Organization, declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic in March 2020, the way we live, work and shop literally changed overnight. It has stripped families of loved ones, pushed the healthcare system and it’s workers to the brink, wreaked havoc with the economy and strained personal finances.
For the past three months, our daily lives have consisted of staying at home, working from home, learning from home and shopping from home because all businesses, except for those deemed essential, have been closed. These changes have impacted the framework of communities and emphasized just how closely interconnected we all are - families, single people, young, old and local businesses.
Out of this unprecedented time, we have witnessed people coming together to do incredible things and help wherever they can - clapping to support healthcare workers, sharing their knowledge, giving their time, generously donating. Perhaps, the African proverb has never resonated so clearly, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
“It takes a village to raise a child” - African Proverb
Winnipeg businesses have stepped up to help flatten the curve, but to try and stay afloat during social distancing, entrepreneurs have had to think of creative ways to connect with their community of customers and sell their products. Many have emphasized online shopping and offered curbside pickup, contactless pickup, even delivery service where possible.
10 Reasons to shop local:
- Boosts the local economy - According to Canadian SME Business Magazine, small businesses account for 98 percent of all Canadian businesses and 98 percent of Manitoba’s small businesses. They also generate 52 percent of the Canadian GDP within the private sector. So, when you shop at local businesses your money in the community. Small business owners are proud of their communities and support other small businesses in the area.
- Local businesses = Local jobs - Canadian small businesses employ over 8 million Canadians ranging from students to older workers. Small business owners invest back in their businesses, which means as their business grows, they invest back in people within the community. This increases diversity and inclusivity.
- Builds the character of the community - A variety of unique businesses builds the landscape and character of a city. This intriguing mix is what makes an area a destination. Vogue magazine calls Winnipeg, “Vaguely Exotic, Totally Obscure, and an Absolute Must-Visit Destination.”
- Quick order & pickup time with personalized customer service - Everyone likes to get their orders quickly and who doesn’t like a personal greeting? Well, when you shop locally online, you can typically expect the same day or one-day pickup or delivery service. So, there is no waiting for a week or two until your order arrives, like with many large national chain stores. Business owners usually work in their store and their small team of employees can offer expert advice. They are invested in getting to know their customers on a first-name basis and value feedback.
- Invest in your community - When you shop locally, you are building a connection with your environment, which supports your own well-being and the success of your neighbours. Enjoying a coffee from your local cafe or finding the perfect gift for your friend from that organic shop ensures your favourite places will continue to thrive.
- Reduce your environmental footprint - Local businesses are generally located more centrally, which means you can walk or bike there. This reduces the impact on the environment and decreases packaging.
- Support local artists, craftspeople and entrepreneurs - When you shop locally for yourself or for gifts, you, in turn, support local artists, designers and invest in entrepreneurs.
- Diversity of business leads to more choice - The diversity of businesses in a community creates a unique marketplace. Business owners handpick what they buy or make for their store based on what their customers want, so you’ll get everything you need right at your doorstep.
- Local business owners invest back into the community - Local businesses are owned by people who live locally, so they have a vested interest to invest in the health of their community. Local business owners tend to donate to local non-profits and connect with fellow business owners to promote community and city initiatives like Burger Week and National Takeout Day.
- Make better use of your tax dollars - When you spend money in a locally owned shop, instead of a national chain store, more of your tax dollars stay within the community. They require less infrastructure and utilize public services more efficiently.
Five ways you can support local businesses
- Shop local online - Shopping local is great if your fave local store has a website with an online store. Now, small businesses that don’t have a website or online store can get online with My-cart.ca. Simply, find your store, order your favourite products 24/7 and pick up your order. It’s as simple as 1,2,3!
- Champion curbside pickup and contactless delivery - Curbside pickup and contactless delivery are your safe and healthy way of getting your essential and not so essential products super fast.
- Use social media to tag your favourite local businesses - Give a shoutout to your local shops, great service and must-have products by liking, tagging, sharing and posting customer reviews.
- Don't cancel, go virtual - If you have a subscription service or are paying for music lessons, don’t cancel them. Try to keep the subscription where possible and take your lessons online, with a virtual meeting platform. These small businesses need your support to survive these challenging times.
- Be a generous tipper - When you pick up your order and receive amazing service, then why not say thank you with a bigger tip, if you can. Many shops and services have been closed, so the staff has received less income from fewer or non-existent customers. So, a small gesture can go a long way in helping someone out.