Supporting local businesses this holiday

STORY BY Harley Cuevas, Corey Cushinan, Samantha Knox, Nicole Botelho Simao

With holiday shopping upon us, small businesses need our help more than ever.

Since small businesses have been forced to close, it has been leaving many business owners at a loss. 

“First struggle is my yarn supply. I normally buy from Michael’s but recently their stock has been very low, so when I get an order, I run around to multiple stores and search online to find the yarn colour that has been requested,” said Katy Dennis, owner of Woven & Wilful.  

“I am so new to the scene and I do not have a storefront or anything that has been forced to close. All my orders are mailed through Canada post which is still open or porch pickup / drop off.” said Dennis.  

“I do have friends that have been running a small business much longer than I have and they relied on craft fairs and markets for a lot of their sales and all of those have been cancelled since COVID began,” said Dennis

The Canadian government has set up emergency funding for businesses to stay open for the pandemic, but not everyone will qualify.

Premier Doug Ford has supported big-box stores remaining open during the pandemic because it prevents people from making multiple stops when out shopping, reducing their exposure to the virus.

Many shoppers are looking to get the most out of their money because of the pandemic. Big box stores and online retailers such as Amazon and Wal-Mart typically offer the lowest retail price on their items. Their low shipping rates are seen as more convenient than shopping locally.

But shopping locally has its own economic benefits. Keeping small businesses open allows us to keep money recirculating in our community and creates more jobs within those communities.

Since the pandemic started, small businesses have been less likely to lay off staff and more likely to rehire them when layoffs did occur.

At the start of the pandemic, the city of Hamilton launched, a website intended to make shopping locally easier for consumers.

Bag of Toronto is another ‘shop local’ campaign supporting businesses in Toronto’s Bloorcourt, Bloordale, College Promenade, Ossington, and Queen West neighbourhoods. Each bag costs $60 and is filled with products from local businesses from the neighbourhood of your choice. However, delivery is limited to people living within that region.