A collaborative initiative aimed at propping up local business amid the novel coronavirus pandemic received some more support Friday from the Cariboo Regional District during its monthly board meeting.
A joint initiative through funding from the Northern Development Initiative Trust (Love Quesnel), City of Quesnel, Quesnel and District Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures North Cariboo, Quesnel Downtown Association, West Quesnel Business Association, South Quesnel Business Association and CRD, a total of $16,500 has been pooled.
The North Cariboo Shop Local Campaign began early April near the beginning of the COVID-19 situation, said Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson.
The campaign is running through the city’s Love Quesnel Facebook page, with some crossover to its Explore Quesnel Facebook page, with a staycation campaign planned for mid-June.
”We got everybody together to get on the same page,” Simpson said, noting the challenging times the coronavirus has created for small and local businesses in the region.
“We’ve had experience in 2017 and 2018 where our business community didn’t really engage in the support programs that were being offered early enough. So, because we wanted to have the conversation right away that our business community is going to need access to those supports and set up a system to make sure every dollar available from this go into our community.”
Simpson said staff from the business association, chamber and the city’s economic development team reached out to over 600 businesses regarding government support before moving into the North Cariboo Shop Local Campaign strategy.
“We want to make sure people know in the community that now, more than ever, at the end of the day what’s going to continue to make our economy robust is people spending in our local economy as much as possible.”
Simpson said a substantial amount of grant funding was secured, with the CRD agreeing to provide an addition $5,000 at its board meeting Friday.
The marketing campaign was broken down into an initial response in April and May, and is now moving into a business support response until June.
From June until December, three recovery phases are outlined for business with the goal of working together to strengthen the regional economy through supporting local business.
“We started very early making sure people knew which businesses were open and how they were open, and did some social media where we had shop local contests and things like that, so it’s been good, so far,” Simpson said.
“What we want to do now is ramp it up as the businesses step back into normal operations.”
He added the main message of the campaign for residents and consumers is the biggest contribution they can make to the sustainability of the local economy is spending their dollars in the local economy.