Coronavirus: Libro Credit Union looks to bolster local businesses through staff initiative

Black Walnut Cafe in Wortley Village, London, Ont, on June 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Mark Spowart

Libro Credit Union says they’re revamping and expanding a campaign launched among its staff earlier this year to help and highlight local businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In the spring, the London-based credit union doled out $25 to each of its more than 700 staff members, asking them to make a purchase at a local business, to share it on social media, and to call on others to do the same.

In all, the Loyal 2 Local Challenge saw more than 50 other credit unions and affiliated organizations across the country take part in their own local campaigns.

Read more: Coronavirus may leave permanent economic ‘scars’: Bank of Canada

Now, with the holidays just weeks away and their annual holiday get-together cancelled, Libro officials say they’re bringing the challenge back for a second time but with a much bigger monetary amount.

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“Obviously this year with the pandemic, it’s not safe to come together in person, so we were looking at that budget that we had to spend to celebrate with our 700 staff, and decided to actually redistribute it to our staff to bring back Loyal 2 Local,” said Emily Strybosch, a brand specialist at Libro.

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This time around, instead of $25, each staff member will receive $140 to spend at local small and medium-sized businesses, Strybosch says. Overall, the amount totals about $100,000 from Libro.

“It’s a great way to celebrate our staff, it’s a great way to put that money back into our local economy and support our businesses at a time when they really need it, and we’re really hoping that, once again, we see people jump into this and do it with us,” she said.

Members of the community are being encouraged to take part in the Loyal 2 Local Challenge, by posting a local purchase on social media using the hashtag #Loyal2LocalChallenge, and tagging the credit union.

Read more: London-St. Thomas October jobless rate unchanged from September

According to the most recent figures from Statistics Canada, the number of active businesses in the London Census Metropolitan Area, which includes London, Dorchester, Port Stanley, Strathroy-Caradoc, and St. Thomas, numbered 8,492 as of July compared to 9,485 in January.

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“We know the coming winter will be difficult for so many people. Many local businesses are already struggling, and local businesses are the lifeblood of our communities,” said Libro CEO Steve Bolton in a statement.

“It’s important for us to show our gratitude to people who, like us, are working to keep communities strong, even as we celebrate hard-working Libro staff.”

According to Strybosch, local businesses recirculate up to 4.6 times more revenue into the local economy than multinational businesses do.

“It’s really just about encouraging us all to shop at our local independent businesses… supporting our community during this time.”

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