When you shop local, you keep your money where your home is. You support your neighbours and friends, and you help to build a thriving local economy with ample public services and meaningful jobs.
In British Columbia, small businesses are the backbone of our provincial economy. As we often like to remind people here at Small Business BC, small businesses comprise 98 per cent of all businesses in our province. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these businesses faced unprecedented challenges and an uncertain economic future. As these businesses emerge and attempt to grow once more, it’s never been more important to buy local and give our local economies an invaluable boost.
But that’s enough from us. We asked some of the business owners listed in our BC Marketplace to share their opinions on why it’s so important to keep supporting local businesses.
Leigh Joseph, Skwalwen Botanicals
I think, as a society, we’re often so disconnected from the source of where so many things we rely on come from. Learning about the small local businesses and their various expertise and knowledge that they bring to the craft – it’s such an enriching way to connect to the origins and the story of their products and how they were produced.
In the time of COVID, as businesses see the impacts on their supply chains further afield, whether it’s their product or materials, they’re more vulnerable to situations like we’re in right now. The more we can focus on our local economies, support local jobs, and source our products locally, the better we can connect with people and get through this together.
Ryan Popov, Popov Leather
A key reason to support local businesses for me is sustainability. We love being able to manufacture our goods here in Canada, using locally sourced binding. We’re not outsourcing any of our work and everything is done in-house. We experience every part of the manufacturing process firsthand so we can ensure the end result is something we’re proud of.
The other main appeal is being able to provide quality jobs within our community. Where we live is also where we work, and we’re really proud to be able to do that. Most people who have a hobby and start selling that skill, they come to a crossroads where they can decide to keep doing it as a hobby, or excel and run a business. I took the latter path because it’s important to me to provide a place to work where I would be proud to work and to support our community here in Nelson.
Frances Riley, The Argosy
I think small businesses really add a special flavour to a community. They’re the places you’re going to find something unique and interesting, or meet somebody memorable. On a community level, the people who own these small businesses are the people who are volunteering in your community, they’re fundraising for local sports, and they’re your neighbours. It’s so easy to open up a laptop and shop at Amazon, but Amazon isn’t the business that’s doing good in your community. That money isn’t staying within your community. I think it’s so important to remember that when making decisions on how to spend your money.
Alaina Lipsett, Sweet Lavations
Small businesses like Sweet Lavations are part of your community. We are the people who are here when the big stores are closed. You can come to us, speak frankly about our products, and we can hear and incorporate your feedback. I’m here if people have questions, I’m here if people need a donation for their school.
I love giving back to our community, I think it’s incredibly important Sweet Lavations stays involved and that we are productive members of the community. When people choose to shop with us, they know some of that money will go back into their community directly.
Another thing that’s important is that I live in such a small rural community and we need people living in these communities. We need to be doing everything we can to draw people to these communities. By supporting us, you’re supporting my family staying in this community and helping it to grow.
Kaisha Scofield, Keto My Heart
Local businesses are owned by your friends, they’re owned by your future friends, and I have a couple of really good friends I met just from shopping at their small business. When you shop at these stores you bump into your neighbours, family members and there’s just such a sense of community about them. I feel like supporting local small businesses may be the easiest way to put love back into your community.
Jill Van Gyn, Fatso Peanut Butter
Fatso was built by our community. This support has inspired me to give back to our community. During COVID we’ve donated over $50,000 worth of Fatso peanut butter to food banks and underserved communities. We donate over $10,000 a year to LGBT organizations and organizations supporting people of colour and Indigenous communities. To me, supporting your local community means so much and business owners like me are so grateful to the people who supported them at the start that we will always invest back in our community – no matter how big we ultimately become.
It’s so vital for people to support these businesses because who else is going to support the local soccer team’s fundraiser? Who else will give back to local charities? We will always support our community because these same communities supported us when we were small and needed help and I am forever grateful for that.
Cera Bollo, Summit Tiny Homes
I think people tend to forget how much small businesses are a part of their community and help out in so many different ways. They are the ones sponsoring the local sporting events, supporting the school band, or helping provide activities for kids. With COVID-19 and the difficulties these businesses are facing, now is the time for all of us to step up and give back to these businesses and support them in their time of need. Otherwise, there might come a time when they aren’t there anymore.
Looking to shop local and support your community? Explore the BC Marketplace and find small businesses close to you. If you’re a business owner you can also list your small business on our Marketplace. It’s simple and free! Reach a province-wide audience and share your business with BC.
We respectfully acknowledge our place of work is within the ancestral, traditional and unceded territories of the Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaʔɬ/sel̓ílwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and that we serve the Peoples of the many Nations throughout British Columbia.