November 30, 2015 3:52 pm
Updated: November 30, 2015 10:18 pm

‘Buy Local Week’ encourages shoppers to leave their dollars in B.C.

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WATCH: One BC group is encouraging consumers to “buy local” this week. Tanya Beja explains what impact shopping locally has on our economy and the biggest challenge facing retailers.

As shoppers hunt for online deals on Cyber Monday, one B.C. group is encouraging consumers to shop locally.

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LOCO BC, a non-profit alliance of local businesses, has launched off its annual “Buy Local Week.”

Amy Robinson, founder and co-executive director with LOCO BC, told Global News the week kicks off a year-long campaign to encourage British Columbians to buy local.

“We are reminding consumers that when they spend money locally, more of that money stays in our communities and contributes to local jobs,” says Robinson.

LOCO BC says local businesses re-circulate 2.6 times more revenue in the local economy than chain producers. Out of every $100 spent with a B.C. business, $46 is re-circulated back into B.C. economy, as opposed to $18 when products are purchased from multi-national companies.

The organization defines a “local business” as one that is privately owned and headquartered in B.C. A “locally made” product is, by definition, largely (more than 50 per cent) manufactured or processed in the province, and a “locally grown” product is defined as an agricultural product grown in B.C. or a manufactured product, 50 per cent of which is made of materials grown in B.C.

Shoppers who want to buy locally grown or made products should be on the lookout for pink stickers between today and Dec.6.

“Hopefully, the pink stickers will make it easier for consumers to identify who is local and what is local,” says Robinson.

This is the first of the three major events of this year’s campaign.

Robinson says this year’s focus is on digital awareness. She says they talked to a number of local businesses about their online presence and the competition they face from major retailers. “We found that B.C. retailers are really concerned about online shopping,” says Robinson. “Sixty-four per cent of them said that it was one of their biggest concerns.”

In spring, the “Buy Local” campaign will continue with the focus on locally grown food and will culminate with awards for best local businesses to coincide with BC Day in August.

This year, the participating communities include the city of Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, New Westminster, Victoria, resort municipality of Whistler, Squamish Lillooet Regional District and district of Squamish.

Businesses can participate throughout the year by identifying themselves as locally owned and labeling locally grown and made products in their stores and restaurants.

Organizers are encouraging shoppers to use hashtag #BCbuylocal to keep the discussion going during the week.

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