Local businesses support the community, and an upcoming event gives the community a chance to show its support for local businesses. The Big Spend happens Saturday, July 25, when shoppers can help boost Canada’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by spending their dollars close to home. (News Bulletin file photo)

Nanaimo can boost its economic recovery by shopping local during one-day ‘Big Spend’

Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce asking for community buy-in as part of nationwide challenge

Big spenders can help reboot the economy by shopping locally during the Big Spend.

The Big Spend is a nationwide one-day, buy local event when shoppers can participate in the post-COVID-19-restrictions rebuilding process.

The event, sponsored by chambers of commerce and other organizations across Canada, happens Saturday, July 25, and all shoppers have to do is make their purchases with vendors in Nanaimo and report how much they spent.

According to the Big Spend website, it’s local small businesses that make communities run, support community events, sponsor sports teams and provide nearly 70 per cent of all private sector jobs in Canada, but those businesses have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and need the support of their communities to help with their economic recovery.

“We’re totally focused at the chamber now, in everything we do, pretty much, on bringing up the subject of spend local, shop local, eat, drink, buy, think local,” said Kim Smythe, CEO of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce. “This campaign, which was offered to us, seemed to hit the nail on its head … Nanaimo has been very slow in responding to the recovery phase of the pandemic, so we felt the timing was right to do a campaign. This one came along and we went, ‘Perfect timing. Let’s jump on this one.’”

RELATED: National initiative encourages Canadians to support local

Another big idea behind the Big Spend is the matter of community pride. The campaign’s goal is to get one million people across Canada registered for the event and reporting their expenditures. One use of the data gathered will be to make comparisons to see how support for local business stacks up between communities.

“I think we can create a point of pride if we do well in spending and reporting and we get onto a national register and compare per capita spending, consumer spending on a single day and how much was spend in Nanaimo on a single day and if we don’t do that, at least we’ll inspire some spending by some people at local shops on a single day,” Smythe said.

Smythe suggested people can even schedule events for the day of the Big Spend to boost those local statistics. A suggestion from a staff member at the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce moved the organization’s staff luncheon, which will also include two birthday celebrations, to July 25.

“We can get those numbers up there and Nanaimo can look like it’s doing a really good job of supporting local,” Smythe said.

To learn more about the Big Spend, how shopping locally stimulates the economy and to sign up to participate in the Big Spend, visit https://thebigspend.com/.

READ ALSO: Task force getting started on guiding Nanaimo’s economic recovery out of pandemic

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