‘Tis the season to shop locally. On December 8th, the Government of Alberta announced enhanced public health orders to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Because these more robust public health measures include additional business and service restrictions, shoppers are being urged to buy locally to help Alberta small businesses during the COVID-19 holiday season.
So, how are Calgarians and local Calgary/Airdrie businesses adapting to these new restrictions? Today, let’s talk about;
- Why Supporting Local Calgary Businesses Matters?
- What You Can Do to Support Calgary Small Businesses
- What Small Businesses Can Do to Remain Visible
Although The City of Calgary remains in a state of local emergency, the priority continues to be protecting the health and safety of everyone in our community while continuing to provide essential services.
Currently, the city asks Calgarians to shop locally online where possible, do curbside pickup and wear masks when going into stores. The city has also changed on-street parking regulations to encourage Calgary residents to buy from local businesses this holiday season.
Effective November 27th until February 1st, 2021, The City of Calgary and the Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) are offering 15-minutes of free on-street parking in the city’s Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) and Business Revitalization Zones (BRZs).
Hopefully, this new initiative will help Calgary businesses by allowing them to accommodate increased demand from customers using curbside pickup and delivery services.
Payment won’t be required on December 25th, December 26th and January 1st for on-street ParkPlus zones.
There are still some conditions. Holiday rates will affect select CPA surface lots and parkades, while regular rates will affect the Calgary Zoo and TELUS Spark. Parking sessions must be registered in advance, and drivers must learn to end parking sessions within a 15-minute time period.
The CPA also asks that customers respect physical distancing rules by remaining 6 feet apart and limiting the number of people in parking lobbies.
Why Supporting Local Matters?
Given the latest COVID-19 restrictions, small businesses and Calgary locals are in a vulnerable position right now. Therefore, a unified community response is essential if we want to keep our favourite small businesses afloat this holiday season.
- Our local shop owners are often our neighbours and friends, which gives Calgary business owners a vested interest in enhancing our neighbourhoods and our community.
- Encouraging Calgary consumers to shop locally also preserves our proximity to retail stores and restaurants, which increases the livability and value of our homes.
Need one more reason to shop locally this Christmas?
- The new restrictions introduced by Premier Jason Kenney on November 24th limit stores to 25% occupancy. Which, if you do the math, small and medium-sized merchants are likely safer places to shop in-person than your average larger stores.
What you can do to support local small businesses
While Calgary retailers remain open with limited capacity, online shopping is at an all-time high, but that doesn’t mean you need to turn to Amazon to do your Christmas shopping.
There are several ways you can help support local Calgary small businesses, Calgary made products, and stay healthy this holiday season.
Many local companies are now offering delivery, curbside pickup, and online shopping alternatives for those who want to shop online during the pandemic while also supporting local Calgary retailers.
If you have the means, ordering take-out from local Calgary restaurants, cafes and bars is a simple way to support local without having to leave your couch.
Buying gift cards for use at a later date from; local spas, salons, and other recreation facilities is also a great way to get some Christmas gifts checked off your list. Some gyms and recreation centres are even offering online classes.
There are also several ways you can support Calgary retailers in your community that cost nothing at all. If you’re a proud Calgarian, leaving a positive review, following local businesses you like on social media and sharing your favourite brands with friends and family are straightforward ways to promote the companies you love.
Christmas is just three days away! Keeping your cash in Calgary this holiday season supports your friends, families and neighbours. And it’s an essential step towards limiting business closures and/or rebooting the local economy.
What small businesses can do to remain visible
Calgary entrepreneurs have proven themselves to be highly adaptable in the face of economic uncertainty. Many owners have done what they can to improve sales by launching e-commerce sites alongside city-wide delivery options, virtual markets, and even outdoor pop-up shops.
If you’re a Calgary business, show your roots with pride. Many shoppers are already changing their habits to help support community-focused companies during this holiday season. Which makes identifying your brand as local or made in YYC an asset if you want to help your customers find you online.
First off, claim your Google My Business listing and confirm your location to increase your local search visibility.
Second, make sure to roll out updates on your social media platform of choice, letting your customers know you are still open and how they can support you.
And third, take advantage of the #SupportLocalYYC Marketing Toolkit.
The City of Calgary relaunched its #SupportLocalYYC campaign for the second year in a row, encouraging Calgarians to keep their money in the city while shopping during the holidays.
This promotion included extending several services and resources to local business owners. These resources include printable, ‘Come in, We’re Local posters’ and an online marketing toolkit to aid small businesses struggling for visibility.
Using #SupportLocalYYC in your social media posts to identify your business as locally owned or highlight Calgary made products is just one way you can boost your visibility as a local small business.