Before you head to Vancouver for holiday shopping this season consider the impact spending your gift-buying dollars in the Sea to Sky corridor could have on the community.
Shopping local not only feeds money back into the local economy — which creates more jobs — but it also helps the environment by cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions from travel. Those are the ideas behind Buy Local Week, running in communities throughout B.C. from Dec. 1 – 7. This year, for the first time, Pemberton, Whistler and Squamish will also participate as part of a partnership between the Whistler Centre for Sustainability and Local Whistler.
“There’s definitely a growing movement where people are being more conscious choosing local (products),” said Cheeying Ho, executive director of the Whistler Centre for Sustainability. “However, it’s hard to compete sometimes with online shopping or hopping down to Walmart or Vancouver — or some people even go to the states because of the prices. We want people to think about value for money. It’s not just the bottom line. By purchasing local you’re reinvesting in your community because dollars are circulated. It’s good for everybody.”
A Vancouver organization called LOCO first launched Buy Local Week three years ago.
To launch the initiative locally, the organizations have come up with a social media contest to engage the public. “Show us your Local” will encourage residents to take a picture of themselves (a.k.a. a selfie) with a favourite local product or in a favourite local store.
The winner will receive a gift basket stacked with local goods like a Green Moustache gift certificate, Namasthe Tea, Whistler Chocolate, Love Child products, a Peaked Pies certificate, Jules Fuel and certificates to Inside Out Boutique and Naked Sprout, with more to come. The final value will be around $500.
Local businesses jumped on board right away. “It’s been amazing actually,” Ho said. “People are really excited about it. Businesses are excited and willing to promote it, which makes it easy. And the prizes will
Corridor businesses will also participate by putting up pink stickers that say “local grown,” “local made” and “local own” to identify the store and products as local. There will also be buttons that say “local champions” for people who want to support the initiative.
“The idea is to create a bunch of pink everywhere to raise awareness of local business,” Ho said. “In the corridor we’re really using it as an opportunity to showcase local innovation and creativity and the amazing local businesses and entrepreneurs.”
To enter the Show us your Local contest post your photo to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #BuylocalS2S and #ChooseS2S. You can enter as many times as you want. A winner will be chosen on Dec. 15. For more visit localwhistler.com.
As part of a province-wide contest you can also send an online greeting card to your favourite local business for a chance to win trips to Tofino, Whistler or Burnaby Heights.
For more on that visit buylocal.thetyee.ca.