Buy Local Week shopping tips for the holiday season

Photo of Pink Peppercorn Bar courtesy of East Van Roaster

On the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, local business group LOCO BC joined with the Province of BC and the City of Vancouver to launch the second annual Buy Local Week Dec. 2-8. Kicking off with a press conference at Nuba Restaurant in Gastown, Amy Robinson, Executive of LOCO BC, led a walking tour of journalists  through three Gastown businesses highlighting ways consumers can purchase one-of-a-kind products while helping businesses in their own community.

Buy Local Week Press Conference photo courtesy LOCO BC Facebook page 

Said Robinson, "what I hear about Black Friday is “buy, buy, buy” but I don’t hear a lot about why to keep it local. When consumers spend their dollars with local businesses, the money is re-circulated in the community 2.6 times. Those businesses depend on locals for management, accounting, marketing legal and other services so wealth multiplies and communities become stronger."

Added Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business, Naomi Yamamoto, "small business owners in your community don’t just run businesses, they’re moms and dads, they’re hockey coaches. They’re raising funds for hospital foundations. They’re the ones that are making your community thrive. So when you’re thinking about shopping for Christmas, think about buying local."

And Wes Regan of the Hastings Cross BIA, which encompasses Vancouver's Downtown Eastside stressed, "There’s value that’s generated in our community by choosing to buy locally. I think that by focusing on what value we are creating and not just what money we are we saving when we buy the cheapest possible thing, is an important part of the question about how we choose to spend our money." 

The walking tour led by Robinson started at Nuba Restaurant.

photo courtesy of Nuba website

By booking a holiday party at one of Nuba's three locally-owned and operated locations (Gastown, Kitsilano and Mt. Pleasant), you'll not only enjoy healthy Lebananse cuisine sourced from local and organic products, you'll also be supporting Nuba's local business suppliers such as Sky Harvest, Micro Greens, Ernest Ice Cream and East Van Roasters. And Nuba also gives back to the community by supporting events many different organizations such as Vancouver Public Library and the Queer Arts Festival.

photo courtesy of Olla Urban Flower Project website

Around the corner from Nuba, was tour stop number two: Olla Urban Flower Project. When you purchase holiday flower arrangements and wreaths from Olla, you're supporting a sustainable and socially conscious business. Olla creates unique Japanese inspired arrangements and sources flowers from urban farm/gardens, local farm/greenhouses, or from Fair Trade/Veriflora certified farms. Olla also provides job opportunities for DTES residents and is working toward a zero waste mandate. For the DIYers who like to create their own arrangements, Olla also offers workshops to teach you how.

Last stop on the local business tour, was East Van Roasters.

photo courtesy of East Van Roasters website

Located on Carrall Street in the Rainier Hotel, East Van Roasters creates amazing bean-to-bar chocolate and roasted coffee perfect for anyone on your gift list. East Van Roasters not only makes some of the best coffee and chocolates available in Vancouver, it's also a non-profit social enterprise operated by the PHS Community Services Society, which provides training and employment to the women at the Rainier Hotel. Stop in to sample some of their coffee and chocolates or pastries and watch how chocolate is made.

So three good ways to keep it local this holiday season by spending your holiday dollars on outstanding products created by local businesses in your community and t the same time strengthening your local economy.

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