Blog

  • 27 May 2020 by LOCO BC

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Buying gift cards to support local businesses in Metro Vancouver and Squamish now easier with new online platform

    VANCOUVER BC

    May 11, 2020

    Vancity, LOCO BC, and business organizations throughout the Lower Mainland are launching a program to promote the purchase of gift cards from local businesses in partnership with Support Local BC. 

    Support Local BC provides an online platform where customers can support their favourite local businesses by purchasing gift cards for future use. Support Local BC was first launched in Victoria this March by Think Local First in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s threat to businesses who have had to adjust operations or close their doors.

    The site launched initially with businesses from the Greater Victoria region and has currently sold more than $22,000 in gift cards for 172 businesses. With this partnership with Vancity and LOCO BC, the platform is expanding to include businesses through Metro Vancouver and in Squamish, and is expected to connect consumers to hundreds of local businesses. 

    The partnership between Support Local BC and LOCO BC, Vancity, Downtown Vancouver BIA, the Vancouver BIA Partnership, and Squamish Chamber of Commerce will cover payment processing fees to businesses throughout Metro Vancouver and in Squamish, so businesses in those communities can get the full amount of any gift cards purchased for their operations. 

    To join the platforms, businesses can sign up at no cost. The sign up process takes about two minutes to fill out the form and businesses will be added to the site quickly. Gift cards are available for purchase in $10, $25, $50 and $100 denominations. 

    Consumers can purchase gift cards by visiting supportlocalbc.com, choosing the community and business(es) they wish to purchase from and the gift card(s) will be emailed to the buyer directly. These gift cards do not expire and are non-refundable.

    LOCO BC is a non-profit organization building stronger communities with applied research of the policies and practices of a fair and just economy, contributing to a world where resilient communities are based on shared economic prosperity. They engage businesses and educate consumers on the importance of supporting independent businesses, research the challenges faced by independent businesses, advocate for reducing these barriers, and work to build bridges between businesses and policymakers.

     

    Quotes

    Amy Robinson, Founder and Executive Director of LOCO BC

    “People are looking for ways to use their spending to keep the businesses they love in their community alive. Local businesses need our help and support to survive these scary economic times, and this online gift card platform is giving businesses a chance to get some care and support from their customers who know how important they are to their local communities.” 

     

    Elizabeth Lougheed Green, Director of Community Investment at Vancity

    “Vancity is proud to partner with Support Local and LOCO BC to support local businesses across the province. These are very challenging times for small businesses and we hope the Support Local BC gift card program will help alleviate cashflow pressures for businesses as they navigate through the challenges of COVID-19. When the country gets through the worst of this pandemic, small businesses will play a significant role in helping to drive our economic recovery, and now is the time to support them.”

     

    Charles Gauthier, President & CEO, Downtown Vancouver BIA

    “Local businesses play a very important role in building community and a unique sense of place. The Support Local BC platform gives customers a new way to shop with their favourite local businesses, as well as discover other businesses that might become new favourites.”

     

    Tricia Barnes, Vancouver Business Improvement Area Partnership

    “The Vancouver BIA Partnership represents the 22 BIAs in the city and is excited about this opportunity to support the small business community in Vancouver. “ 

     

    Louise Walker, Executive Director, Squamish Chamber of Commerce

    “Squamish is a hub for small business, with a diverse range of boutiques, restaurants and activities, along with a strong craft and artisan scene. Support Local BC is a great way to support small businesses with cashflow during these challenging times, and presents a unique opportunity to get a taste of Squamish, from jewelry and artisan design, to craft beer and rock climbing. The Squamish Chamber is proud to continue our partnership with LOCO BC to support local businesses, and we are incredibly grateful to VanCity for their continued support of small businesses.”

     

    Media Contact

    Amy Robinson
    amy@locobc.com
    604) 351-1664‬

  • 24 Apr 2020 by Amy Robinson

    Here's a list of current operations offered by LOCO members during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • 30 Mar 2020 by LOCO BC

    We're compiling a list of initiatives and resources, and will continue to edit as things develop.

     

    Buying Local

    Local businesses need your dollars more than ever. Check out these sites on how to purchase from local stores and restaurants:

    Delivery from Local Businesses

    YVR Local Delivery is a list of businesses in many categories offering home delivery.

    Canadian Indie Bookstores identifies independent bookstores in your community, and across the country.

    Get Groceries is an initiative of Fat Cow & Oyster Bar (Langley) to deliver local produce, protein and prepared goods from local farmers and manufacturers.

    BeerVan offers craft brew, kombucha and ginger beer deliveries from Vancouver's local breweries. Delivery to Vancouver, Burnaby, New West & North Van.

    Delivery/Take Out from Local Restaurants & Food Producers

    Breaking Bread is a comprehensive list of food businesses offering take-out, delivery and more.

    Silver Lining let's you order meals or subscription meals from participating East Van restaurants including: BandidasDosankoJamjarKin Kao & Sopra Sotto

    Good to Grow online purchasing platform for local food producers. 

    BC Farmer's Markets is helping local farmer's markets to create an online purchasing platform. Stay tuned.

    Gift Card & Merch Purchasing for Gifts, Current/Future Use

    SupportLocalBC allows you to purchase gift cards from businesses in many areas of the Province for future use. 

    SupportYYJ allows you to purchase gift cards from businesses in Victoria for future use. 

    Buy Now Shop Later allows consumers to buy gift cards from businesses on the Sunshine Coast. 

    Vancouver Strong allows consumers to buy branded merchandise cards from their favourite local businesses to support them during the crisis. They also sell "Vancouver Strong" t-shirts in support of the Canadian Centre for Disease Control.  

    Business Resources

    Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses.

    Government of Canada 75% wage subsidy for small and medium sized businesses. 

    BC's Reopening Plan Guidelines: BC COVID-19 Go Forward Strategy. Guidelines for re-opening in various sectors and Go Forward Management Checklist.

    FREE face masks for small businesses.  

    Webnames.ca is offering free 1-page websites for small businesses for one year.

    Vancity Community Portal provides a list of support programs for businesses and non-profits.

    The BC Economic Development Association has developed a COVID-19 guide for businesses.

    Small Business BC has launched a B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service to serve as a single point of contact for businesses throughout the province looking for information on resources available during the COVID-19 pandemic. Advisors are available Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Pacific time) and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 1 833 254-4357 or email covid@smallbusinessbc.ca. Live chat is available on their dedicated website.

    Small Business BC has also launched an online marketplace for small businesses across B.C. to promote their goods and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The City of Vancouver has launched the COVID-19 Business Communications and Support Office to offer a single point of contact for Vancouver’s local business owners to:

    • Get information about business support programs
    • Learn what City services for businesses are currently up-and-running
    • Make suggestions to the City about business and the economy

    BC Hydro will waive fees for up to three months for affected small businesses. Application opens the week of April 13th. 

    Futurpreneur has a new support package that will cover loan payments for six months for each of its more than 3,200 Start-up Program clients whose Futurpreneur loan was disbursed prior to April 1, 2020. This loan payment coverage is effective March 25 through to September 24, 2020, and comes at a crucial time for thousands of young entrepreneurs across Canada whose small businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to the six-month loan payment coverage, for existing eligible Futurpreneur clients who require extra working capital to help cover operating costs during this challenging period and do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Business Account, Futurpreneur will offer a top-up loan of up to $10,000, interest-free, with one year of deferred repayment.

    Advocacy for Direct Support

    SaveSmallBusiness.ca links to some great articles, recommends three policy measures, asks that you share your story, and is collecting signatures on a petition for non-debt solutions for small business:

    1. Pause Rent April 1: Mandate the first $10,000 of commercial rent is waived for 3 months and give landlords the support they need to make it happen.
    2. Keep Our Staff Together: Increase the wage subsidy to 80%, so small businesses have staff when we’re ready to restart our economy.

    3. Defer Debt Obligations: Give us a breather from both principal and interest payments on all of our loans. Give our landlords the same support so they can waive our rent.

    Here's a great article that proposes deferred costs for small businesses in the short term, and a letter to MPs proposing direct support policy measures.

    Advertising

    The Tyee is offering small and local businesses free display advertising to businesses affected by the shutdowns, to encourage people to buy gift cards or somehow support local businesses. Here's some info on their audience and display advertising options.  If you are interested, please fill out this application. Once approved, they’ll be in touch via email to get ad creatives. They are offering one week of remnant advertising, 3 sizes of ads, and we'll run maximum 4 business' ads per week, to ensure people get a decent share of impressions.

    Facebook has launched a $100M small business grant program offering cash grants and ad credits to affected small businesses.

    Help Line

    The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses has launched a COVID-19 Small Business Help Centre for members and non-members.

    Grants & Financing

    Facebook has launched a $100M small business grant program offering cash grants and ad credits to affected small businesses.

    The Business Development Bank of Canada offers financing options for businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis.