COVID-19 has taken a toll on all parts of the community, but for local business, the effects have been especially challenging. As doors closed and customers stayed home, local retailers, professionals and service providers have questioned how they’ll keep going as they wait for the return of some kind of “normal.”
Modelled after a similar program launched in the South Island community of Sooke several weeks earlier, the concept is simple, but essential: You purchase gift cards or other online products from a participating Alberni Valley store or service provider, providing the business with valuable cash flow now, and you with a gift card to spend now, or later. Or, consider paying it forward to a friend or colleague!
“We’re all trying to find ways to support our local businesses; this is a way we can do that, and maybe discover a few new Valley favourites in the process,” says Bill Collette, Chamber CEO.
Here’s how it works:
- Visit betterbuyportalberni.ca and browse the participating businesses. From retail outlets to restaurants to roofers, residents have a wealth of opportunities to shop local, support their neighbours, and take advantage of local products and expertise. Be sure to check back often as new businesses are added daily!
- See a business that piques your interest? Click on their digital business card to visit their business page where you can learn a little more about them and their offerings. Click to buy directly online via credit card and track your order.
- Use your new gift card to purchase products from the business now, or when you’re ready to visit. It’s that easy. “It’s like a virtual shopping mall, and you’re supporting your community – your neighbours,” Collette says.
Businesses: Don’t miss out!
While the deadline for businesses to sign up for free was May 31, retailers and service providers can still sign up for a modest fee. Fill out the online form at betterbuyportalberni.ca/sign-up, and the WebMax team will get in touch to get you set up. The team at the Chamber are also willing and able to assist any business owner with the initial setup.
“We hear from businesses that it’s too good to be true, but in this case it is true!” Collette says, noting the initiative is especially valuable for those businesses without a prominent online or social media profile.