B.C. Buy Local Week encourages local shopping with new online initiative

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      While it’s one of the busiest days for e-commerce storefronts across North America today (November 30), a number of B.C. businesses are taking part in an online initiative of their own.

      As part of the fourth annual B.C. Buy Local Week, which takes place today until Sunday (November 30 to December 6), B.C. businesses are being encouraged to promote their own locally grown, locally made, and locally sourced products on Instagram.

      Participating businesses have been supplied with bright pink stickers, which they can attach to products before snapping photos and posting them to the popular photo-sharing app, using the hashtag #BCBuyLocal.

      The hashtag acts as a crowd-sourcing tool, offering consumers an easy way to identify, access, and discover local businesses and products online.

      The online initiative was launched by LOCO BC, coordinators of B.C. Buy Local Week, after a recent report by the organization revealed that 64 percent of B.C. businesses name “competition from internet retailers” as one of their top concerns.

      The report also found that, of the consumers surveyed, almost half preferred to buy from companies based in their own city or province.

      “The initiative is, in some ways, our solution to word-of-mouth marketing,” says Amy Robinson, LOCO BC founder and co-executive director.

      In an interview with the Straight at Plum Clothing in Kitsilano, Robinson explained that B.C. Buy Local Week aims to connect consumers with more local businesses.

      “We hear from consumers that they want to buy local but they may not always know how to find local,” she says. “The goal of the week is to illuminate the market for them and to help them find locally owned businesses and locally made and locally grown products.”

      Robinson also notes that every dollar spent with local businesses recirculates in the community to create $2.60 of economic return, leading to better wages, more jobs, and stronger communities for that region.

      As for the unique variety of products available at local retailers, Plum Clothing co-owner Ed Des Roches stresses the hard work of business owners in the delivery of locally made, grown, and sourced goods—particularly during the holiday season.

      “You’re gonna find some of the best gifts in small, local retailers because they’ve worked so hard at providing that,” he says. “So, there’s a benefit to you personally as well as to your community.”

      More information about B.C. Buy Local Week, as well as listings of local businesses and events, can be found on its website.

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.