At the Shop Local Victoria launch May 22nd, Mayor Dean Fortin declared June 1-10, 2012 Shop Local Week.  “Shop Local Week is a great reminder of the value local businesses bring to our communities and the fundamental role they play in supporting our local economy,” said Dean Fortin, Mayor of Victoria. “The idea to create a Shop Local campaign that celebrates our local business is both fun and inspiring – a way for people to show support for those businesses who contribute to the vibrancy of our region and our daily lives.”

The week will be highlighted with a contest in every locally owned member business to win four prizes of $250 worth of gift cards and gift certificates from member businesses of the winners’ choice.  One grand prize will be awarded for a fabulous Backyard Vacation; two nights at Accent Inns plus gift certificates for breakfast at Ingredients Health Food and Café, lunch at Inn at Laurel Point’s Aura, dinner at Chateau Victoria’s Vista 18 or Clive’s, a tea tasting workshop for two at Silk Road, and kayaking rental from Ocean River Sports.

A first in Victoria, business owners have come together to create the Shop Local Victoria Association, a non-profit society whose aim is to promote locally-owned and independent businesses keeping the local economy vibrant in more ways than one.  The Association’s Seven Reasons to Shop Local will hit home for those wishing to support what’s happening in their backyard:

1)      Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is… Support your friends, neighbours and yourself. Invest in our community; help create a stronger and healthier Victoria keeping our money here.

2)      What Goes Around Comes Around… Two or three times as much money spent stays in the local economy when you buy goods and services from locally-owned businesses.

3)      Community Sustainability… Local stores help sustain vibrant, compact and walk-able downtown centers – which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, vehicle use, habitat loss and pollution.

4)      Keep Our Community Unique… One-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of Victoria.

5)      Create Collective Prosperity… Locally-owned businesses invest more in local labour, pay more local taxes, spend more time on community-based decisions and create local events. In doing so, they create more opportunity for all of us here in our community.

6)      Local Owners Care About Victoria… Local business owners live in and love Victoria. They are less likely to leave and are more invested in the future of our whole community.

7)      Give Back and Take Care… Local business owners make more local purchases themselves. Locally-owned companies and employees are statistically more likely to give to local charities.

The association is made up solely of volunteers who are local business owners.  They are currently seeking candidates for their board of enthusiastic entrepreneurs.  Locally owned businesses are able to join Shop Local Victoria as members based on the following criteria:

i.              Their business is privately owned with at least 50% of business ownership held by owners living in Greater Victoria.

iii.            Business is registered in Greater Victoria (Sooke to Sidney).

iv.           Business makes independent decisions relevant to purchasing, practices and distribution. Business pays own rent, marketing and other expenses without direction or assistance of a corporate headquarters.

v.            Business agrees to operate with ethical business practices and to make efforts to give high levels of service.