British Columbia celebrates BC Buy Local Week

Buying local has benefits

Sarita Patel

The B.C. government has proclaimed Dec. 2-8 BC Buy Local Week to recognize the contributions local businesses make to their communities and to B.C.'s economy.

"Supporting me means I get to then give a charitable contribution to the services that are being provided in downtown Kelowna," says Chantal Couture, owner of Funktional and Frock & Fellow.

Funktional is 100 per cent Canadian, which not only helps B.C. but helps the national economy, while Frock & Fellow is a consignment store whose sustainable fashion benefits the world, says Couture.

Alicia Neill of Mosaic Books says shopping local is something she grew up doing.

Locally owned businesses, growers, manufacturers and service providers are key drivers of B.C.'s economy. For every $100 spent locally, up to $63 is recirculated in the community, LOCO BC stats show.

"It's important for people to understand where that money goes, and it stays within our schools and local non-profits," says Neill. 

"As a community, we do need to support our local businesses ... we do want to have a shiny, bright downtown core for people to come to visit, not only in the summer when we have our big tourism time, but all throughout the year," adds Carly Reinbold, manager of Blonde. 

The city is making it easier to shop local by providing free parking downtown during December weekends. 

"It's one less thing you have to pay for when you're shopping around, but my idea is if you parked two blocks away from us, the downtown isn't that big. It's the same distance if you're parking at the farthest part of the mall," says Neill. 

Reinbold notes weekends are free at a few parkades downtown all year round. 

"I think you're missing out if you don't come downtown over the holidays. I think when it comes to being thoughtful in your gift giving, shopping local and sustainable should be atop of the list," adds Couture.

There are more than 500,000 small businesses in B.C., employing more than one million people and accounting for 53% of the province's private-sector employment.

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