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Dec 11, 2020

Letter from the Chamber President; Chamber Says 'Shop Local'


December 11, 2020


We all know that we should be shopping local. Local businesses, both for profit and not-for-profit, are at greatest risk for failure due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We hardly need to be reminded that they need our help now, and that help begins with shopping local. Shopping local means buying from retailers who employ locally, pay taxes locally, and support our local community.

But like eating well and exercising, turning intentions to shop local into action requires planning and habits. As the champion of Kelowna’s businesses since 1906, the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce encourages everyone in Kelowna to increase their support of local businesses whenever they can.

Instead of a holding a staff Christmas party, spread Christmas joy with gift cards from local retailers. Some Chamber members have already provided their staff with lists of local businesses and invited their staff to choose how they want to shop local. To spread the joy even further, encourage everyone to share their locally-sourced gift-to-self on social media.

Break your Amazon habit and train yourself to get better value from a local retailer. Most local retailers provide advice that is more reliable than online reviews. They can also assess your needs in a way that onestop websites can’t, and point you to products and services you wouldn’t find on your own. Let a local business show you that the best value comes from making the right purchase. Support your neighbours.

You can sit down at the keyboard, or pick up the phone. Many local retailers have pivoted to an online portal and are also happy to assist you by telephone. If you have a hard-to-shop-for person on your list, there’s a good chance that calling a local salesperson could lead you straight to an inspired gift (and if it doesn’t work out, local returns can be easy.) Best of all, shopping locally by email or by phone also lets you quickly make arrangements for curbside pickup.

Share your latest local purchases through your social networks. If a local business has made you happy, don’t your friends deserve to know? Don’t let them down. You can provide a service to both them and your local business by sharing.

Treat yourself to takeout. The strains of the pandemic and its new routines are weighing on us all. As much as anyone, you deserve a break now and again. When it comes to buying yourself and/or your family a break from the grind, ordering takeout can be a real treat. Bring yourself and your family some special treats this holiday by doing something special if you can, and order takeout more often than you normally would. Or if you are doing more cooking over the holidays support local farmers by making sure you look for Okanagan grown produce.

Tell your gift recipients you shopped local for them. Your loved ones understand the benefits of shopping local. So, tell them you bought their gift locally. This way, you both can feel good that their gift supported a local business and helped our community by providing jobs.

Do not underestimate the goodwill of giving local. Recent economic data shows that the impacts of the pandemic are unequally distributed. Chances are that someone on your shopping list does have everything they really want. For friends like these, a gift to a local not-for-profit in their name can be a standout. Donating to a worthy organization signals your shared values and an appreciation of your friends’ generous spirit.

For more information:

Jeffrey Robinson, President

Dan Rogers, Executive Director