New initiative encourages Edmontonians to shop local

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New initiative encourages Edmontonians to shop local
WATCH ABOVE: With COVID-19 cases on the rise and people encouraged to stay home, the next few months could be challenging for many small businesses. A new initiative is asking people to support local, in a safe way, at a time it's needed most. Nicole Stillger explains – Nov 15, 2020

It’s been a tough year for Edmonton business owner Yannick Vienne.

Like many small businesses, community support has helped Red Pony Consignment stay alive through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would have never thought we could still be standing after all of those challenges,” Vienna said.

“We really feel like people want us to succeed and want us to stay — it’s incredibly heartwarming.”

Red Pony is one of 64 local businesses across eight Edmonton neighbourhoods that were chosen to be part of a new initiative encouraging people to shop local.

Yannick Vienne working at her Whyte Avenue business, Red Pony Consignment. Nicole Stillger / Global News

Driven by blogger Linda Hoang, “Adopt a Shop YEG” is aimed at helping small business owners right before the holidays.

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“I think a sentiment that keeps coming up is that you need to support these small businesses now or they are not going to be around next year,” Hoang said.

The idea is that people commit to spending $60 at “adopted” businesses in a neighbourhood.

The goal is to get 200 people to spend a total of $12,000.

“You sort of underestimate how powerful your dollar can be at a small business,” Hoang said.

“I’ve seen a lot over the last few months, businesses putting out pleas like, ‘We need your support right now, things aren’t going that well.'”

Hoang is a small business owner herself, like her parents.

“I’ve seen my parents struggling,” she said.

“Their restaurant is in Chinatown, which is one of the neighbourhoods people can sign up to adopt. A lot of the Chinatown businesses are struggling.”

Chris Bauer and her husband own Blue Jar Antique Mall on Stony Plain Road.

They’re grateful to be part of this renewed push to shop local.

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“I think it’s really great to revitalize this community,” Bauer said. “There are a number of businesses here that a lot of people don’t know about.”

She said while the pandemic has presented its challenges, she thinks people are more conscious about spending their dollars locally than ever before.

“It was a little scary, because there was so much uncertainty, and there still is, we don’t know when we’ll get the call again or if we do.”

The initiative runs until Nov. 22.

Hoang encourages online shopping or curb-side pick-up where possible.

More information and a list of businesses can be found online.

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