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Shop local for Christmas

Shop local for Christmas

The 2020 holiday shopping season is different than in previous years. While the provincial health order is asking residents to limit public activities to help stop the spread of COVID-19, most area merchants remain open and need local support more than ever. Many downtown Sechelt businesses will be open until 8pm on Thursdays, between Nov. 26 and Dec. 10, to provide extended shopping opportunities. All planning to participate are reminded to obey COVID-19 protocols and wear a mask in public places.
Downtown Sechelt stores are ready to help fill holiday shopping lists. They are reminding people to shop early to help ensure they can find what they are looking for. “We will always do our best to accommodate customers looking for something. If they can’t find it in-store, we can do special orders but are experiencing longer than expected shipping times,” said Trail Bay Source for Sports’ Josh Romer.
“Shopping where we live is more important than ever this holiday season. Over the next few weeks the Sunshine Coast Business Recovery Team is reinforcing this message in various ways, and supporting a number of initiatives that encourage continued support of our local businesses, in a safe and responsible manner,” said Janice Iverson, executive director of Community Futures Sunshine Coast (CFSC).
Both Gibsons and Sechelt proclaimed Nov. 30 to Dec. 6 as BC Buy Local Week. In support of this event, Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Organization’s Executive Director, Colin Stansfield, stated, “We’re asking people to be mindful of the choices they make this holiday season – to recognize that small changes in spending can have a significant impact in the vibrancy of our local economy and ultimately the health of our Coastal communities. Whether you’re shopping safely and responsibly in local stores, buying local online, or purchasing gift cards through the Sunshine Coast page on SupportLocalBC.com, these are simple choices that make a meaningful
difference.”
For those that want to shop online, another useful local shopping website is https://www.localline.ca/sechelt
-farmers-market. Created by the Sechelt Farmers Market, this online portal features over 450 hyper-local food, craft and art products. Offerings from 18 Coast-based vendors range from fresh produce and baking to spice mixes, jewellery, soaps and weavings. The site offers options for COVID-safe pick-up or delivery.
Many local businesses offer sales on their own websites. Barter Design (barterdesign.ca) creates and sells décor pieces fashioned locally using wood from BC and clays from Alberta and Washington State. The company was founded by Kenneth Torrance and his partner Katie Sweeting based on a vision of a marketplace of local people coming together sharing their values.
“For Christmas orders, we have limited quantities, so if the customer needs the object to be unwrapped under the tree, they can call us to confirm if it is in stock,” said Kenneth Torrance of Barter. If an item a customer wants to order cannot be supplied in time for Christmas Day, Barter is willing to provide one of its small handcrafted sharing bowls as a ‘stand-in’ and will include a note about the item that will be delivered later. “Because we are donating 30 percent of sales revenues to the food bank, we are hoping we sell lots. It’s a double edge sword kind of sales. Buyers support local craft and support local food banks,” said Torrance.
The online shopping tool Shopify also has a regional presence, one example being https://serendipityfair.myshopify.com/, which features goods from the Sunshine Coast.
Connie Jordison

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