A Mexican restaurant adapts to the Covid-19 lockdown. The owner hands an order to a customer outside the restaurant; they are both wearing gloves and masks.

With fewer people walking into shops and restaurants due to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to find ways to support local small businesses. Small businesses are an important part of Canada’s economy, and by shopping local you can help support your community, create jobs and bring a unique character to your neighbourhood.

Here are three ways to support and discover new businesses from the comfort of your own home:

1. When you need to go out for essentials, try shopping at locally owned stores nearby. Many small businesses are now offering online or click-and-collect services that are easy and safe to use. Try searching keywords or hashtags relevant to the product you’re looking for using platforms and tools like the Instagram Shop tab, which allows the everyday shopper to discover local businesses. Purchasing products locally online, instead of using a big-box retailer, could make the difference for a small business surviving instead of closing.

2. Not sure how to find local businesses? Try searching the hashtag “#shoplocal” on social media. Many people post photos of their local purchases online with hashtags such as #shoplocalyyc, or #shoplocalottawa when shopping in their community. You may just discover your next favourite coffee shop, candlemaker or restaurant.

3. From local help groups to book clubs to artist collectives, diverse communities are thriving on social media. Last year, many were introduced to local business directories, and they’ve helped business owners stay afloat during the pandemic. You can find communities supporting small businesses by searching for local Facebook Groups online.

Shopping local and sharing your favourite small business with your community are great ways we can support businesses on their road to recovery.

—NC


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