Smithers and Prince Rupert are by far and away leading the North in a campaign promoting purchasing gift cards as a way of supporting local businesses through COVID-19.
The Support Local BC (SLBC) campaign began on March 25 to try to encourage residents of communities to purchase gift cards in lieu of shopping in person and provide businesses with some cash flow during business closures and slowdowns. Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) announced it was partnering with SLBC to help promote the program in late April.
“This is one simple thing that locals can do to support their local businesses and economic development in the Northwest during COVID,” said Sheena Miller, manager of the Smithers District Chamber of Commerce.
Furthermore, she noted, NDIT currently has a special offer for anyone purchasing a gift card of $25 or more, gets one back.
“When a shopper spends more than $25 on a Northern BC business on supportlocalbc.com, we at Northern Development want to celebrate that,” the organization explained. “In the order summary email that comes after an initial purchase, shoppers also receive a unique one-time code so they can spend $25 at a Northern BC business of their choice on supportlocalbc.com. These unique codes cannot be redeemed in-store.”
All Love Northern BC businesses are eligible to participate in the promotion free of charge. Love Northern BC, is NDIT’s Shop Local marketing program that predates the coronavirus pandemic.
A report dated June 2, indicates that 15 Smithers businesses had sold 83 gift cards worth $2,650. Prince Rupert had a total of 204 purchases for $5,560 giving Smithers a slight edge in per capita spending of $0.50 versus Prince Rupert’s $0.47.
“It’s exciting our Smithers program is doing well and we can continue to improve,” Miller said.
Topping the list was Roadhouse Smithers, which, as of June 2, had sold 17 gift cards for $550.
Smithers also had the edge in terms of the average amount spent per card at $32 compared to $27 in Rupert.
NDIT CEO Joel McKay announced the results at a Chamber Zoom conference last week.
Smithers Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill was pleased.
“That was kind of gratifying to know that in our community and Rupert, people are trying to support their businesses to that level,” she said.
All the Smithers Love Northern BC businesses participating in the program can be found at supportlocalbc.com.