Gold Country Communities Society is launching a new program designed to encourage people to shop local and support local businesses, artists, artisans, and more. (Photo credit: Hunnies Mercantile)

Gold Country Communities Society is launching a new program designed to encourage people to shop local and support local businesses, artists, artisans, and more. (Photo credit: Hunnies Mercantile)

New ‘shop local’ initiative shows what the region has to offer

Free service aims to increase the online presence and reach of local businesses, artisans, and more

Gold Country Communities Society (GCCS) has received funding for a new “Shop Local” program that will highlight the diversity of the small- and medium-sized businesses in our region, and give those who do not already have an online presence the ability to reach more customers, regionally and further afield.

“We’re running a social media campaign, and have new imagery coming out about shopping local,” says GCCS Executive Director Marcie Down. “We’re talking to local businesses in order to get the message out about shopping local.”

She is excited about a series of videos coming out for each of the nine communities in the GCCS region (70 Mile, Ashcroft, Cache Creek, Clinton, Lillooet, Logan Lake, Lytton, Savona, and Spences Bridge). Each video is about three minutes long, and highlights the businesses in the community, as well as the services that are available.

“Each community has its own unique story, and the videos really capture that and will resonate with people,” says Down. “The message is ‘support and shop local,’ but they also tell a story about the community.

“The videos will be on the Gold Country website and YouTube channel, and will also be on the Gold Country Collective Market website. People can upload and share the videos from YouTube. We have one coming out for Valentine’s Day highlighting the places in our area where people can go and spend time for a staycation.”

The Gold Country Collective website will act as a regional digital mall. In addition to featuring bricks-and-mortar businesses, it also offers a platform to businesses that have lost their shopfront, and to local artists and artisans. Those who already have an online presence will be able to increase their reach, while those who aren’t online will benefit from the increased exposure on the platform.

“People can go online and make purchases, and it will go directly to the artist or owner,” says Down. “It’s for any business in any of the communities. If you don’t have an online presence, we’ll create one, so we’re really looking at artisans and craftspeople. If you do have that presence, we can plug your website into the network. It’s like a big digital market.”

Down adds that customers will be seeing some giveaways and contests as time goes on.

“We’ve received funding from the BC Chamber of Commerce, so it’s free for businesses, and it’s supported by the federal government, so we’re using the funding to build the program so that we can keep it going. We’re giving that support to our local businesses so they can show what they have, and how important it is to be supporting them.

“We saw how important it was, after the atmospheric river [last November], to have those local resources. We live in such an amazing area, and it’s great to showcase that. We’re trying to market it and show everything we have.”

Down says that Gold Country tried, last year, to get the message across that the area was open and that there were safe routes to get here, and that will continue.

“Lots of messaging needs to be done around that, and we’ll be doing it. We want people to come and feel safe. There are places they might not know about and should check out, and they’ll be supporting incredible businesses.”

Any businesses, artists, artisans, craftspeople, and more who would like to learn more about the Shop Local program or the Gold Country Collective Marketplace can email goldcountry@telus.net or call 1-778-207-9100. You can also visit https://www.exploregoldcountry.com/.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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