Prince Rupert is by far and away leading the North in a campaign promoting purchasing gift cards as a way of supporting local businesses through COVID-19.
The Support Local BC (SLBC) campaign began on March 25 to try to encourage residents of communities to purchase gift cards in lieu of shopping in person and provide businesses with some cash flow during business closures and slowdowns. Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) announced it was partnering with SLBC to help promote the program in late April.
Northern Development Initiative Trust also has a special offer of a free card with the purchase of a $25 or more card.
“When a shopper spends more than $25 on a Northern BC business on supportlocalbc.com, we at Northern Development want to celebrate that,” the organization explained. “In the order summary email that comes after an initial purchase, shoppers also receive a unique one-time code so they can spend $25 at a Northern BC business of their choice on supportlocalbc.com. These unique codes cannot be redeemed in-store.”
A report dated June 2, indicates that Smithers had a slight edge per capita spending of $0.50 versus Prince Rupert at $0.47. However, Prince Rupert has sold 121 gift certificates more than the 83 sold in Smithers.
“We know that Prince Rupert residents are great at taking care of our own in tough times, and the results from this Support Local BC Campaign are further proof of that,” said Paul Vendittelli, Manager of Transportation and Economic Development for the City of Prince Rupert.
“Our City, community and local businesses have been sharing, participating and supporting much on their own, and it shows in the latest report that our community had a total of 204 purchases for $5,560! It was really amazing to hear that our community was fully engaged and willing to support our local businesses through these tough times,” Anthony Yecyec, executive director of Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce.
“We know that Prince Rupert residents are great at taking care of our own in tough times, and the results from this Support Local BC Campaign are further proof of that,” Venditteli said.
Topping the list of the businesses for gift certificate sales is Opa Sushi with 48 for the amount of $1250, followed closely by Good Time Games with the sale of 42 for $1075.
“What is great about the statistics is not specifically about the dollar amount provided to our local business community, but the amount of support our local community has in supporting local businesses and buying local,” Yecyec said.
“Our residents have spent over $5,000 in gift cards to support cash flows for local businesses during these difficult times, and we encourage people to continue to participate in this great incentive program distributed locally through our Love Prince Rupert Program, and supported by NDIT,” Vendittelli said.
“Our local businesses are such an integral part of our community. They are the ones that support our not-for-profits, our sports teams, our local community events. Without them, we lose a huge part of our community,” Yecyec said.
With files from Thom Barker
K-J Millar | Journalist
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