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UPDATE: May 28, 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force pumping up the volume on Shop Local message

Posted on Thursday May 28, 2020
Stay Safe Shop Local - Mayor Clarke
Mayor Steve Clarke encourages residents to “Stay Safe – Shop Local. It Matters Now More Than Ever.”

The City of Orillia’s Economic Recovery Task Force (ERTF) is pumping up the volume on ‘Shop Local’ messaging to encourage residents to support businesses in the region during and post COVID-19.

“Small business is the lifeblood of our local economy. We know that many of those businesses are hurting right now because of COVID-19,” said Mayor Steve Clarke. “Local businesses support and serve your families every day, through community and sports sponsorships, volunteering, donations and much more. Stay Safe – Shop Local. It Matters Now, More Than Ever.”

In an effort to protect the health and well-being of citizens by preventing the spread of the coronavirus, the Province had deemed many businesses as non-essential. This required many businesses to temporarily close or drastically cut back. As a result, their ability to generate revenue was gone, but many still face ongoing costs.

As the economy continues to open up again under Provincial guidelines, more businesses are looking to resume operations. Local consumers are encouraged to renew their relationships with their favorite local service providers in a safe manner.

The ERTF was formed in early April to work with local businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and to plan and develop measures to help the local economy recover moving forward. The task force has developed a campaign that encourages area residents to keep local business in mind during this challenging time.

On May 11, Orillia Council approved up to one-million dollars for COVID-19 related social and economic recovery efforts, of which the Shop Local campaign is a part of.

Campaign initiatives include online and social media messaging, radio advertising, billboards, posters, videos and partnerships with local media outlets to develop and promote value-added incentive programs aimed at keeping dollars circulating through the local economy.                                                                                              

“Nearly 70 cents of every dollar spent locally, stays local,” said Coun. Ted Emond, Chair of the ERTF. “Those dollars circulate and recirculate and are spent locally on groceries, cars, homes and more. Local business keeps the local economy moving – not the Amazons and other big online retailers.”

The COVID-19 related Shop Local initiative spearheaded by the ERTF is also aimed at strengthening, leveraging and highlighting existing shop local campaigns that have been developed by local community business organizations, including the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Orillia Management Board (DOMB), Orillia & Lake Country Tourism and the Orillia Community Development Corporation (CDC).

The Chamber, which represents more than 600 local businesses, has traditionally been a leader in heralding the importance of shopping locally. Origins of the message go back decades and have been reinforced and re-prioritized over the years under the leadership of several past and present Chamber presidents. The Chamber’s most recent strategic plan includes a renewed emphasis on local spending.

“Now is the best time to support your local business by shopping locally as it will help them weather this difficult time and allow them to succeed once it’s all behind us,” said Chamber President Nathan Brown.

The Downtown Orillia Management Board (DOMB) and its 220 businesses have also been strong supporters of shop local initiatives.

The DOMB is currently promoting Shop Local by touting the safety and convenience of ordering from shops and restaurants offering curbside pi