Supporting #smallbiz in YEG | The Local Goodness Project

Local business is essential for our economy. They bring growth and innovation to our communities. They provide employment and create entrepreneurship opportunities and support the local economies, communities and neighborhoods. They also care about their community.

– Liz Frazier, Forbes

Wrapping up the #yegcares week, we’re shifting our support to the local small businesses that provide so many vital goods and services. We know some of the hardest hit during this pandemic have been our stalwart citizens. We’ve seen owners, friends, and community leaders negotiating these difficult times by pivoting, reflecting, and many, sadly, closing their doors. While we hope most of these are temporary, #yeg landmarks including Doan’s and Army & Navy have recently closed their doors permanently.  

Despite the challenges, there is hope. There has been incredible creativity, innovation, and support coming forward over the last couple months from our local business community; at the time of writing this, over 150 businesses have signed up for the #HereforGood tshirt campaign launched by Print Machine, a local #yeg gem that keeps rolling even as the world is changing around us! The proceeds from the campaign are then pooled and split amongst all participating businesses.

We all know many small businesses are hurting. Now there is a creative way to help keep YEG Small Businesses #HereForGood all while social distancing! 

– Print Machine, 2020

What can we do to help local business? Here are six ways you can support #yegsmallbiz today:

1. Send Some Love

Reach out to your favourite local business and send some love, support, and ask how you can help. Whether providing curbside pick-up, online orders and delivery, or (temporarily) closing their doors, local businesses are doing everything they can to meet our needs. It’s time to connect again, let them know you’re thinking of them, and find out if you can volunteer your skills or help in another way.

2. Spend Locally

From buying your groceries to pampering yourself or ordering take-out, The Local Goodness project has been exploring ways to support and spend locally. A birthday gift could come as a gift card or tasty care package this year.

3. Tip Well 

Picking up your favourite beverage or trying out that new (socially distanced) restaurant means everyone is working harder than ever. Be kind and tip generously because your slightly anxious server, barista, or hairstylist deserves it (and they likely haven’t been working for a while).

4. Donate Your Refunds

A lemon out of shape in your local grocery bag today? Make lemonade! Consider making the lemon a donation instead of asking for your money back. Same goes for those local art shows tickets that didn’t happen last month when the world was cancelled–the band or show you love can still use your support, and this is a great way to show you care. 

5. Sign-up for Memberships

Fitness centres, Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), or local journalism can all use a boost with your membership. Sign-up for classes, festivals, and local art shows like the Stuck in the House series!

6. Remember, We’re In This Together

There are lots of resources being developed locally, provincially, or federally as we move into recovery. Local chambers are stepping up and connecting with members providing relaunch toolkits and support networks. Edmonton Made, Start-up Edmonton, Avenue Edmonton, and COVID Community are just some of those providing courses, workshops, and directories to update the community and businesses. You can do your part and reach out to your elected representatives to ensure they are continuing to support local businesses and entrepreneurs.

And as Stage 1 of the Province’s re-launch strategy rolls out, many of us are welcoming the relaxation of public health measures and returning to a (new) normal. It’s a great time to help out and keep our dollars supporting our local economy. Amplify the good you see through social media or let your friends and family know how they can also support locals. Need some help? Use #LocalGoodnessYEG and let us know what you’re looking for!

We are all in this together and now more than ever, kindness matters.

– Dr. Deena Hinshaw

The Local Good at its core has always looked for ways to support local. The Local Goodness Project was inspired by our previous #CashMobYEG and #31daysofYEG efforts to support locally and discover YEG. We never could have imagined what we would learn along the way and how crucial, now more than ever, our local businesses are to our community.