Jeff Bray is the executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association. (rickcollinsphotography.com)

Jeff Bray is the executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association. (rickcollinsphotography.com)

COLUMN: DVBA celebrates Small Business Month in Victoria

Small businesses, their owners and employees are the lifeblood of downtown Victoria

Here at the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA), October is Small Business Month. It is a chance to celebrate those who invest and work tirelessly to make our downtown thrive.

In B.C., 98 per cent of all companies can be considered small businesses. Owners of these operations are our friends, family and neighbours. They also employ thousands of Greater Victoria residents. They give so much to our community and this month you can show your support by shopping local.

Small businesses are also a significant part of our province’s economic engine, as they produce 34 per cent of B.C.’s GDP. This activity supports public services such as health care and education. But small businesses are more than mere statistics, they are essential to our community.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our downtowns and commercial areas. Their owners are the creators, investors, dreamers and doers that make downtown thrive and each makes a unique contribution to the fabric of our community. Look at any charity auction and you will see donations by small businesses. Look who is first in Monday morning and last out Friday evening, it is the small business owners.

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When COVID-19 first struck, our phones at the DVBA office were ringing constantly. Small businesses owners were calling with questions and concerns; but not about them. The primary concern – what was keeping them up at night – was for their employees. To many, their employees are like family.

It was these overarching concerns for their staff that made me proud to be a part of this amazing community of entrepreneurs. The experiences our small businesses provide their customers makes downtown vibrant. However, I was overwhelmed by the commitment small business owners showed to their teams.

So, this month we celebrate all those business owners and their teams. I invite you to be a part of the celebration. Come downtown and spend an afternoon. Browse through the unique shops and boutiques on Lower Johnson. Discover what hidden gems are open in Fan Tan Alley. Shop the Hudson District, explore Broad Street, Fabulous Fort, the Bay Centre and the other streets offering incredible shopping and dining.

Follow the Downtown Victoria Business Association on Facebook and Instagram to meet a different small business owner every day in October. To read interviews with various small business owners from around downtown Victoria, visit downtownvictoria.ca/blog, where we will be releasing articles throughout the month.

During the pandemic, Greater Victorians have been amazing in shopping local and making purposeful buying decisions. If you haven’t been downtown in a while, October is a perfect month to come and explore and support small businesses!

Jeff Bray is executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association.


 

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