Residents are being encouraged to “Love Ashcroft” and show their support for local businesses, just as the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear. November 28 to December 2 is “Shop Local Week” throughout the province, and Ashcroft deputy corporate officer Wayne Robinson hopes people do just that.
“The Love Ashcroft program has 21 local retailers as part of it,” he says. “We’re trying to raise awareness of the program, which acts as group marketing for local businesses.”
The program was launched in Ashcroft in December 2014, with local businesses and organizations paying a one-time fee of $100. This enabled them to have professional photographs taken of them and their businesses, and to have a presence on the Love Ashcroft website (www.loveashcroft.com), which is updated regularly and features links to the websites of the participating businesses.
“It’s like having your own marketing team,” says Robinson. “It’s an opportunity for smaller businesses that might not have the time and resources to develop something like this on their own. It raises awareness of local businesses and drives people to look at their websites.”
To encourage more people to check out those websites and shop locally, Robinson says that a contest will be launched on Friday, November 25 to coincide with both Black Friday and Shop Local Week. The 25th is being called “Plaid Friday”, and Robinson explains how the contest works.
“Five of the Love Ashcroft businesses will have a plaid logo on their websites starting on that date. People need to record which websites have the logos.
“Then, on December 2, they can visit specific Love Ashcroft businesses that have downtown sites: Rolgear, Friendship Auto, and Nature’s Gifts, which will have ballots and boxes. Fill out the ballot with the names of the five businesses that had the plaid logos, and deposit it in the box.” The winner will receive $50 to be spent at Love Ashcroft businesses.
The “Love” program has been adopted by communities throughout central and northern B.C. The driving force behind it is Northern Development Initiative Trust, which partners with local governments to make the program available in a community. Robinson, who joined the Village of Ashcroft on November 7, has visited all the Love Ashcroft businesses, and is excited the village is a part of the program.
“It’s really important to shop local as much as possible,” he says. “When you shop in a big box store, less than 25 per cent of what you spend stays in the community. When you shop locally, that dollar amount jumps to just under 60 per cent.
“Small businesses create just under 78 per cent of new jobs, so they really do matter. And they’re the ones that step forward and help and support the community. Local businesses are here when you need them; here, and available to you.”
Any businesses interested in joining the “Love Ashcroft” program can contact Robinson at (250) 453-9161.