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Calgary group offers 'prime' incentive to shop local

Last Updated Nov 29, 2020 at 9:37 pm MDT

CALGARY (CityNews) – As community businesses fight the second wave of COVID-19 in Calgary, the push to shop local is growing.

Laura and Jared work at The Allium, a plant-based cooperative restaurant that is run and owned by everyone who works there.

They say that their business isn’t doing well in the grips of the pandemic.

“We’re feeling the crunch. People are not going out as much. We’re concerned, but we’re doing what we can.”

With local businesses facing big challenges, some are hoping collaboration can help.

The options for supporting local restaurants like The Allium are expanding, with one Calgary group offering a unique incentive.

Be Local YYC is offering a $79 gift card to spend at their network of local and ethical companies, if you can show proof of canceling your Amazon Prime account.

“We’re trying to get people just to think differently. Instead of maybe using Amazon, consider shopping at local businesses.”

Jeff Loomis is the Executive Director for Momentum Calgary, the organization behind the Be Local YYC network and Buy Local Prime Days.

He says spending money in your own backyard is also a decision to help keep the local economy afloat.

“If we all spent just 10 per cent of our money more on local businesses, it could create over 30,000 new jobs.”

During the first wave of COVID-19 many businesses were shuttered, but big box stores and online sites like Amazon were able to serve customers.

Now, small businesses are just getting back on their feet, with a mountain ahead for restauranteurs like Laura and Jared.

“This is our livelihood, and this is what makes a city thrive essentially.”

Several other businesses are offering goods as part of the campaign, which runs until December 24th.

But the organization is hoping to change perspectives on local shopping beyond that too.

Loomis hopes that Calgarians think differently about how they spend their money during the pandemic and realize the impact that they can have by making the choice to shop local.

And Laura and Jared agree.

“If we don’t do this now, have communities banding together to support small businesses, at the end of the pandemic, we may see a lot of them closing.”