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Town of Whitby helping business owners with new incentive program to shop local

Click to play video: 'Whitby launches support programs to encourage residents to shop local'
Whitby launches support programs to encourage residents to shop local
The town of Whitby is coming to the aid of business owners with several initiatives. Starting with a program that encourages residents to shop local while also paying their outstanding parking ticket. Frazer Snowdon has more. – Jun 16, 2021

As businesses slowly begin the process of returning to normal, the Town of Whitby is hoping to lend a helping hand to people struggling to get through.

The town is launching a number of initiatives it believes will help encourage residents to shop local. One of them could help you get rid of that pesky parking ticket.

Mayor Don Mitchell says through the new program, people can now shop locally and pay their ticket.

“All you have to do is email them a copy of what you spent in a Whitby business,” says Mitchell.

The program allows anyone who received a ticket between March of 2020 and Jan. 31 of this year to shop at their favourite store or eat at a restaurant to pay their ticket. The town will send a direct message to those that are eligible for the program. Once they show proof, as long as the bill exceeds the parking ticket, it will be cancelled.

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“This is a great way to address that backlog and encourage people to support their merchants wherever they may in town,” says Mitchell.

Kevin Brown, who owns Kb Food in downtown Whitby, is thrilled with the idea.

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“It really helps to help struggling businesses kind of get back on their feet again,” he says.

He was able to open his patio last week after months of being restricted to takeout only. He says he’s optimistic for what’s to come over the course of the summer.

“For the first time since this whole thing started, it actually feels like we’re getting out from underneath. It’s going to feel weird to go back to normal again.”

Karey-Anne Large with the Whitby Business Improvement Area (BIA) says anything that will encourage people to stay in their local area is going to help businesses get back on track.

“This is a really creative way to drive that shop local message home,” says Large.

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The town will also continue to offer expedited patio approval for business owners and waiving application fees. Mitchell says with few to no cases appearing to come from patios being open, it’s their goal to make the transition for business owners as seamless as possible.

“We want to get the patios reopened; that’s their lifeline. This allows our residents to go there and support businesses.”

Whitby’s chamber of commerce has also made rapid testing kits easy to obtain for business owners with less than 150 employees. Large, with the BIA, is praising the initiatives, saying they give everyone something to be excited about.

“It’s interesting to walk downtown Whitby and there’s buzz and people and laughter again,” she says.

“There’s definitely hope. We’re looking forward to coming through the other side.”

The town is also developing a five year economic development strategy and inviting people to complete a survey between now and June 23rd.

For more information visit their website.

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