What is the value of shopping locally?
Plenty for the greater community – and starting tomorrow there’ll be even more rewards for shoppers.
The Think Local First program asks local consumers to allocate a portion of their spending to independent local businesses. Starting Saturday (June 27), those shoppers can also sign up to receive rewards as a thank you.
“With Think Local First, the money you spend at the local stores stays here in the area and comes back to the community,” said Mike Black, owner of Capital Iron.
“The businesses that are members believe in it. It’s not only the dollars spent on our staff, but the profits stay here as well.”
Saturday – Join the Shift Day – is designed to boost consumer awareness about the Ten Percent Shift and the brand new Think Local First Rewards.
The Ten Per Cent Shift asks people to start by shifting just 10 per cent of their household spending to local, independent businesses; the spin-offs from that will help support and grow a thriving and vibrant local economy.
Twenty-six businesses are currently participating in the rewards program, ranging from the Dutch Bakery and Vancouver Island Brewery to Ocean River Sports and UC Life Chiropractic, with more joining weekly.
Capital Iron will launch the program in its downtown store initially, with plans to roll it out to the West Shore and Sidney locations later this year, Black said.
“It’s a socially conscious way of local businesses and local consumers getting together,” he noted. “We’re also saying thank you for shopping locally.”
This Saturday, businesses will have stations to help people get started with their card or download the app. The Q will also be on location at Capitol Iron downtown, signing people up and giving away prizes.
Gayle Robinson, president of Think Local First and owner of Robinson’s Outdoor Store, said Think Local First isn’t about telling people not to shop at large chain stores, but rather to think about the local option more often. “The 10 per cent shift is about supporting local businesses when it makes sense for you. We are launching TLF Rewards to make this shift fun and rewarding.”
Think Local First Rewards
How does it work?
Each time consumers shop at a participating local business they earn ‘Merits’ which can be redeemed for local products or services from any of the businesses on the program. Consumers can pick up a TLF Rewards Card at any participating business or download the app. The app and website features a map showing all the independent businesses and keeps track of how many merits have been earned.
The program is powered by Supportland, a Portland-based organization whose mission is “to strengthen neighbourhood business districts that lead to thriving local economies.”
Simply visit Supportland.com to sign up and create an account with your first name, email and password. Once enrolled, start collecting:
• Pick up a Think Local First (TLF) card at a participating business and add it to your account, then give the number to store clerks when making a purchase;
• Download the Supportland app and “check in” when you make a purchase to let the staff know who you are;
• or add your cell phone number to you account and give that to the clerk.
You’ll also receive an additional 15 merits the first time you buy from a new business.
Sign into your account and check your “wallet” to see how many merits you have, then you can spend them on rewards from local businesses.
Why Think Locally?
According to the Think Local First group, which includes businesses throughout Greater Victoria, for every $100 spent in local stores, $68 stays in this community. That compares to only $43 for stores based elsewhere.
Where does the difference come from? Locally owned businesses return much of their revenue to the local economy, and often create more local jobs, Think Local First notes. Distinctive businesses also offer consumers a wide range of products and help sustain walkable town centres, reducing sprawl, car use, habitat loss and pollution.