Now more than ever, our local Saskatchewan businesses need our support. It’s no question COVID-19 has impacted each and every person in Saskatchewan and across the world, but this rings especially true for small business. Here are some of the ways you can support local without breaking the bank. Big or small, together our actions can have a tremendous impact.
The Impacts of COVID-19
As humans, we are creatures of habit. For some, this rings truer than others – I am one of these creatures. Whether it’s that one restaurant you love and always order from because you know the meal is always good or the grocery store you stop at every Sunday because it’s closest to your house. We all have habits, we may not even realize it. More often than not, these restaurants, stores or businesses aren’t local.
We crave routine and when we find something that works or is comfortable it becomes difficult to break that habit. But I’m challenging you to break it!
In Saskatchewan, small businesses account for 98% of businesses in our province, major contributors to the quality of life we all enjoy. Right now, these businesses need our support – COVID-19 has impacted us all in major ways, but it has hit our small businesses especially hard. However, shopping local can sometimes mean needing to spend a little more, and while we move through this uncertain time in our lives, it might mean less income for families and individuals. Between March and April, Statistics Canada reported almost 53,000 job losses in Saskatchewan. While we need to continue to stimulate the economy, we also need to ensure that we are able to care for ourselves, put food on the tables, and pay our bills.
It typically takes a minimum 21 days to break a habit, here are some ways you can start right now, without breaking the bank:
“Where do I even begin?”
When individuals start supporting local there are many benefits. For one, it helps stimulate the economy by allowing money to be cycled back into your community, not only through your purchase, but through these businesses supporting local non-profits, charities and community events.
However, in order to support local, you need to know what is local! Here are some great resources to find what is local in your community:
- COVID-19 Relief YQR – Shop Local
- My Saskatoon – shop, eat & support local
- Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce Member Directory
- Northern Saskatchewan Business Directory
One of the easiest ways to support local, is to shop local.
In Saskatchewan we have an amazing local community and your options to choose from are truly endless. From grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, sporting goods, and garden centers – our small businesses have it all. Here are some ways you can shop local without breaking the bank:
- Buy gift cards from local stores for birthdays, anniversaries, graduation gifts, etc.
- Eat local. Once a month choose a different restaurant to support and order from them
- Grocery shop from a local store or farmers market. There is nothing better than fresh produce, especially in the summer
- Choose a local shop, this could be a garden center, fitness store or facility, clothing store, etc. to buy from once a month
- Going for ice cream? Instead of grabbing a tub of Ben and Jerry’s, find a local ice cream store
Your purchases don’t have to be large or frequent, but if we all come together and contribute in small ways – the impact can mean something big.
Word of Mouth
Supporting local is more than just shopping local. It means enjoying, recommending and sharing your experiences with others.
Right now you maybe can’t afford to shop local, and that’s okay – there are other ways you can show your support. You may have shopped at a local grocery store in the past or had that favourite lunch spot you went to once a month with co-workers. Word of mouth can be a powerful tool – AND it doesn’t cost anything. Here are some ways you can start flexing your influential muscles:
- Utilize social media. What businesses do you recommend? What was your experience? What did you love about the product or service they offered? Whether it is posting on your personal social media platforms or sharing your favorite spots in public groups dedicated to supporting local restaurants during the pandemic like this one, your endorsement will likely spark the interest of someone else to try your favorite.
- Leave a positive review on google or other platforms. I don’t know about you, but I often check out the reviews section, especially when I’m buying from somewhere new. I like knowing what other people have experienced.
- Promote the different ways you’ve seen businesses in your community pivot and adapt in the face of COVID-19. It’s amazing to see how resilient businesses have been in the face of adversity. From launching online stores to donating their profits, they all deserve a shout out.
Donate to a local non-profit or charity
COVID-19 has effected nearly everyone – this rings especially true for more vulnerable populations who have lost access to critical services in our communities. Services such as food supply and housing, but also access to wireless services for students now learning from home or individuals working from home. There are so many amazing organizations across Saskatchewan that exist to support individuals with these areas that are looking for your donations in order to get them through these uncertain times.
“Donations” doesn’t always have to mean money, either. Non-profit and charities are often looking for items of clothing, non-perishable food or books. If you’re anything like me, your closet is full of items you’ve been holding on to you for years for that “one occasion” that never seems to roll around.
Here are some other ideas of items you could donate to shelters, food banks, non-profits, or charitable organizations:
- Clothing, shoes or bags
- Old electronic devices, such as laptops, iPad, or phones
- Food, including baby food
- Women’s hygiene products
- Old school supplies
The next time you are going out for your next purchase, pause and ask yourself, can I buy this from a local store? When you shop local, that money stays local and is reinvested back into the community you live. But remember, support can be shown in many ways and doesn’t only mean purchasing goods and services. Challenge yourself to donate, share word of mouth and educate yourself of what’s local in your community. As a community we are stronger together and that starts with supporting one another.
Recent Business Admin. graduate from the University of Regina. I have a passion for learning and being challenged. Having moved away from home for the first time this year, my passion is at an all-time high as I’m learning how to manage all of life’s new expenses and being challenged in the kitchen everyday (let’s just say I have burnt soup before)…(Full Bio in “Meet The Authors”)
(To read all my blogs CLICK my name)