File photo of downtown Courtenay.

File photo of downtown Courtenay.

Comox Valley Chamber CEO stresses ‘Buy Local’ concept

Dianne Hawkins

Special to The Record

Someone once said “You can’t buy happiness, but you can Buy Local, and that’s kind of the same thing.”

Buy Local, that’s the message our local business community is shouting from the rooftops; well actually it’s most probably on social media through Facebook posts and Instagram. Some have kept us laughing and entertained as we learned to navigate new protocols and adjust to the changing landscape that was forced upon us. Thanks for the smiles. Business owners and entrepreneurs are survivors, they’re innovators. It has certainly proven to be particularly true over these past few months.

Preparing to write this article, I took a glance back at some of the campaigns that have been launched by various businesses and organizations over the last few years. The message is still the same – Buy Local!

The Chamber has orchestrated Buy Local campaigns such as I Spy Comox Valley, Rapping up a Comox Valley Christmas (local business owners and their staff sang their way through that campaign… check it out on Youtube – it’s quite entertaining!)ABC Printing has a door sticker and notepads they proudly offer to local businesses for display – Buy Local and Grow our Economy.

There was the “Don’t put your money where your mouse is!” campaign which focused on educating locals to shop locally, not online: now the message is it’s okay, put your money where you mouse is, but do it locally! The recent #StayStrongComoxValley campaign was introduced by the Chamber and sponsored by 97.3 the Eagle and the Comox Valley Record.

The Pattison Group (97.3 The Eagle) also offered “ThingsThatAreOpen” for businesses looking to post their hours and accessibility for customers.

The Campbell River Chamber and Comox Valley Chamber invited locals to #explorenextdoor in August to promote local tourism. First Credit Union spearheaded the Loyal2Local Challenge during the first few months of COVID to encourage locals to shop locally. Most recently, the Chamber and 98.9 Jet FM launched a Shop Local campaign with $200 gift certificates being awarded every Friday to local shoppers up until Dec. 18.

It’s true, you can’t buy happiness, but you can buy local, and that really is the same thing! There are so many small business owners in the Comox Valley who support our kids, the disadvantaged, seniors, animal rescues, food banks, food security, I could go on. The point is, they are what drive our economy. Small businesses account for the health of economic development in our community and our province. They matter.

This year, I invite our community to commit to shopping local, support a small business that supports our community. Keep the money at home, where it belongs, in the Comox Valley.

Dianne Hawkins is the chief executive officer of the Comox Valley Chamber.

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