Many small businesses in Calgary are still struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic – it’s definitely not business as usual. Some who had to cut hours, staff, or close their brick-and-mortar locations simply didn’t have a way to continue their operations.
That’s why we help local businesses move online and help them be more resilient.
The City of Calgary is proud to offer ShopHERE powered by Google, providing free online shopping to small business owners and artists. Thanks to federal support, we are pleased to announce that we will be offering this opportunity to 400 more businesses between February 1st and March 31st.
“Being digital can increase a business’s resilience during a crisis that requires them to close their doors,” said Sonya Sharp, Leader of Business and Local Economy at The City of Calgary. “To be competitive, they’ve had to venture online and e-commerce — it’s essential for businesses to have that option to stay in business and stay competitive.”
Local businesses are a major driver of our local economy. Whether it’s a different way to reach customers or reducing our business-related fees, The City understands the importance of supporting all businesses – especially those that want to try new things.
During the first phase of ShopHERE in Calgary this fall, 45 sites were created with more in the works. One of those businesses was Gravity Espresso and Wine Bar. Owner Andy Fennell says this was the answer he was looking for when he started looking for opportunities to monetize his espresso and wine bar.
“As a business owner, you keep going, you try your best … if we didn’t have access to these subsidies, there’s no way we’d still be open. Everything that was offered to us for help and assistance that we got was pretty easy to apply for. I only have gratitude towards the City, the Province and the federal government for all the help they have given us.”
Since launching its online retail menu featuring the cafe’s popular soups, quiches, cakes and granola in late November, it has been a huge success.
“It was very helpful through the pandemic with a little extra income leading up to Christmas. I’m very grateful we got it in place.”
The realities facing small businesses are challenging. With low income and rent still to be paid, businesses need a separate lane that does not add additional costs. Having an e-commerce site to be able to sell products online is essential to survival for many small businesses.
ShopHERE’s goal is to get 50,000 deserving businesses across Canada online so they can reach a larger audience for their products and bring in new revenue. They hire college students to build these websites for registered small businesses, including home-based companies, artists, service providers like hair salons and auto shops, and more. The offer is first come, first served with 400 places available. Business owners can register at https://programs.digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere-signup-ab.
Fennell’s message to Calgarians is clear: “Go out and support local – look at the local businesses and if you can afford it, spend money, and hopefully we’ll come out stronger.”
ppLoadLater.placeholderFBSDK = [ '