There’s another reason to Love Cache Creek, as the village has joined the communities taking part in Northern Development Initiative Trust’s (NDIT) “Love Northern B.C.” program.
Cache Creek councillor Wendy Coomber, who is coordinating the program for the village, says that it will include independently-owned businesses, ranches, and not-for-profit organizations in Cache Creek, 16 Mile, and along Loon Lake Road.
“Between those three I have 26 places on my list, and that’s conservative: it’s probably more like 35,” she says. She adds that the program includes more than just Cache Creek because while there aren’t a lot of qualifying businesses in 16 Mile and Loon Lake, there are some interesting ones.
“There weren’t enough for them to do a ‘Love’ program because there are so few, so we asked NDIT. They said we could go ahead, as long as the businesses didn’t mind being on a Love Cache Creek page. We wanted them to get that internet exposure.”
The program is designed to give an internet presence to small, independent businesses that otherwise might not have the time or capacity to develop their own. For a one-time fee of $100, participating businesses get professional photographs taken of their business and can either write, or get assistance in writing, a description of what they offer. This information is used to create a unique web page for the business, which also includes contact information and hours of operation.
“It gives them an internet presence, and now that we don’t have a Chamber of Commerce in the area I think it’s important to get that out there,” says Coomber. While working as a business ambassador for Community Futures following the 2017 wildfires, she noticed that a lot of businesses weren’t very internet-savvy.
“If they had a presence it was on Tripadvisor, which has a ready-made box for businesses that lumps them into a generic category and doesn’t do them justice as individual businesses. And the information was sometimes out of date, as the places don’t keep updating it.”
Coomber notes that the first thing she does when she’s in a new community is look to see what’s there: “Things like fabric shops, to feed my hobby. We don’t have that now, but when you type in ‘Cache Creek’ you’ll get the Love Cache Creek site, which the village plans on linking to.”
While she wishes that the program could have started before COVID, Coomber feels that anything which gives businesses a leg up after the pandemic, fires, floods, and everything else is a step in the right direction: “Businesses have taken a huge financial hit.”
She adds that apart from the $100 fee, capacity-strapped businesses don’t have to do anything in order to take part in the program.
“The photographer shows up at the door, and I am available to help them and write up the business description based on their application. I love that part of these jobs. I love talking to businesses and helping them tell their story, so that they can make a good impression on potential customers.”
She adds that the write-up and pictures can be changed if circumstances change, and that business owners don’t have to be web- or tech-savvy. However, she adds that having a web presence is the way to go.
“For people from out of town it’s the best way to get your name out there. People are checking; that’s they way they travel. They want to know what’s there before they get there, what sort of businesses they’ll find.
“The Love program gives people those tools, with happy pictures of owners and customers. Hopefully it will reverse some of the sadness we’ve experienced over the last three or four years, because lots of people are interested in resuming travel and shopping in other places.”
Any businesses or non-profits interested in the Love Cache Creek program can call the village office at (250) 457-6237. You can also go to https://lovenorthernbc.com/apply/ or access the application form by visiting www.lovecachecreek.com, clicking the menu icon at the top right of the screen, and selecting “Apply”.