Businesses in Downtown Quesnel have reported an increase in sales and foot traffic. (Sasha Sefter - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Businesses in Downtown Quesnel have reported an increase in sales and foot traffic. (Sasha Sefter - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Shop local in Quesnel and win prizes

Mayor Bob Simpson says shop local campaigns are more important during COVID-19

Quesnel holiday shoppers could find a windfall if they are lucky.

The City of Quesnel and Quesnel and District Chamber of Commerce have partnered with Love Quesnel to give away nearly $5,000 in local items to shoppers in a new campaign that started Saturday, Nov. 7.

Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson said shop local campaigns are a passion of his.

“I think sometimes shop local campaigns are framed incorrectly, and it’s been a long bugbear for me,” he said. “Shop local campaigns sometimes have more of a guilt or a bludgeon approach to local consumers — ‘you ought to,’ and ‘you should be,’ — the approach that we’re taking and the approach that people need to have in their minds is if you really want your local economy to be robust, you should be shopping locally.”

The prizes are divided up into two programs. A weekly giveaway each Saturday until Christmas will see shoppers who bought goods at select stores entered to win a prize pack. There is also a Christmas shopping bingo card. The more businesses you shop at, the more entries into the draw.

“The approach we’re taking is more fun and celebratory,” Simpson said. “Giving people the opportunity to engage in some fun events leading up to Christmas and getting them to really understand that if they want to support their friends’ and neighbours’ jobs, if they want to make sure they’ve got the most robust consumer choice within their own community, and if they want to affect things like climate change … shop local answers a lot of that.”

Statistics Canada said in July while retail sales fell, online sales across Canada nearly doubled.

Simpson said shopping local would be a great way to inject some of the personality of Quesnel into holiday gifts.

“That little bit of extra effort does personalize the gift a lot more,” he said. “We’re slowly moving away from the gift card phenomenon … The idea of adding another layer of thoughtfulness of going out into your own local economy and local stores.”

Simpson added local feedback from downtown businesses has been positive, with most reporting increased sales and foot traffic since pandemic measures have relaxed.

“I think people are understanding a bit more their impact on the local economy with their local purchases,” he said. “Retailers on the main are pretty heartened.”

The shop local campaign is set to end Dec. 19.

READ MORE: North Cariboo Shop Local Campaign set to ramp up as businesses gradually reopen

READ MORE: Quesnel residents encouraged to shop local Saturday, July 25

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