CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —
A common theme during the pandemic on P.E.I. and elsewhere in Atlantic Canada has been an emphasis on getting out and buying local.
The Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce has taken that idea one step further and is asking Islanders to make a commitment by shifting 10 per cent of their annual spending to local businesses.
“Supporting locally owned and operated businesses means we’re strengthening our community, we’re putting money right back into the Island economy. And, that’s really helping our communities in terms of prosperity,” said Penny Walsh-McGuire, the chamber’s CEO, on Thursday. “The other thing is keeping businesses open. We know the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on small business owners has been significant – tourism in particular. It’s certainly a way of life here, so keeping our local businesses open is critical, and that can be done more easily when Islanders support other Islanders.”
This is the most recent component of the Love Local, P.E.I. campaign that was launched in June by the Charlottetown chamber, and expanded in November to include the Island’s other chambers of commerce in Summerside, Kensington, West Prince, Eastern P.E.I. and the Acadian and Francophone chamber.
Walsh-McGuire added that other reasons to commit 10 per cent of household spending to support local businesses is that they also employ “our family and friends” and that it provides and opportunity to make a connection with a local business owners and get to know the people behind the products.
She explained the campaign was launched in response to the impact the pandemic was having on more people staying home and shopping online and the impact that was having on local businesses.
“So we wanted to get a campaign out to showcase businesses and their offerings and products here in the community and look at other ways to access them, whether it be the business’s websites or curbside (pick-up) or delivery,” Walsh-McGuire said. “It’s been really well received, and more importantly, we’ve seen Islanders supporting local in a big way, particularly going into the holiday season, which we saw more Islanders buying their holiday gifts and spending their money around the holidays locally.”
Walsh-McGuire said the campaign is scheduled to come to an end in March, but she hopes that the 10 per cent shift in spending becomes a lifestyle change for Islanders that continues throughout 2021 and beyond.
Ways to support local with 10 per cent of spending:
- buying home heating fuel
- buying gasoline for vehicles
- filling perscriptions at local pharmacies
- dining out locally
- buying local fresh and seasonal food
- get active and support local gyms, fitness centres
- with donations, support local charities and not-for-profits
- use locally owned and operated companies for home renovations
- drink local (craft beer, wine and spirits)
- live local (P.E.I. experiences and staycations)
- pamper yourself at locally owned and operated spas
- buy made-in-P.E.I. products from local artisans
- buy gift cards from Island businesses
- choose a pick-up option from a local retailer for online purchases
- shop on-Island rather than off-Island
- government agencies and public institutions should consider 10 per cent of procurement to locally companies
Source: Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce
Terrence McEachern is a local business reporter for the SaltWire Network.