by Monique Tamminga/ Special to The News
There is a growing movement called Canada United to show some love to local businesses in communities across the country and right here in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
By shopping, dining, and buying local during the weekend of Aug. 28 to 30 (this next weekend), readers could win $10,000 cash, and shops that you know and love could be given a $5,000 relief fund, said Flori Chaykowski, executive director of the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce.
“All the chambers across Canada are involved in this, and there are 60 different large business partnerships involved too because they recognize how important small businesses are to the Canadian economy,” Chaykowski elaborated.
“Our chamber is really proud to be part of this, to bolster small businesses because we know they are the backbone of our economy and at the heart of our communities.”
The initiative was spearheaded by RBC, which brought together 60 of Canada’s leading brands, the national chamber of commerce network, and business associations to rally Canadians to “show local some love” by buying, dining, and shopping local.
Readers can win one of 25 different $10,000 cash prizes when they shop or dine local during Canada United weekend, simply by shopping or dining during those days, keeping the receipts, going to gocanadaunited.ca, and hitting the enter contest button.
The movement’s main focus is to hand out relief grants of $5,000 to local stores around the country.
The grant can be used for purchasing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields, and latex gloves, renovating physical space to adhere to local, provincial or federal reopening guidelines or developing or improving e-commerce capabilities for your business.
Small businesses in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows can apply for the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund starting on Aug. 31 at gocanadaunited.ca.
Chaykowski said the chamber has been working hard to be the voice of local business to the different levels of government.
The government relief funds and subsidies have been confusing to navigate with a lot of red tape that has gone along with it, she said.
Some local businesses couldn’t access the funds even though they deserved to receive it, she added.
“I think businesses are hurting and there are concerns about when the supports run out. It’s a pandemic,” Chaykowski added.
“There is nothing you can plan for because we’ve never been through this before.”
There is one thing everyone can do to help small businesses besides shop and eat local, she said.
“People can do their part to flatten the curve. That means following the rules. Like Dr. Henry says, ‘be safe, be calm, and be kind’.”
That means wear a mask if the business asks customers to, practise social distancing, and don’t have large gatherings or parties.
“We’ve heard of customers being hard on businesses, even rude, when everyone is just trying to do their best through this.”
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