Dollars from the Government of Canada’s $33-million Shop Local funding stream announced in June - in support of businesses as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic - are beginning to trickle into Sault Ste. Marie.
Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan announced $135,000 in Shop Local funding Wednesday. The funding will enable the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC) to launch its own ‘shop local’ marketing campaign from now until Jan. 22. A ‘love local’ marketing campaign will then run until Feb. 14.
“It allows us to actually just bring the message out to the community that it’s so important to consider when you spend your dollars, that you’re spending them locally because of the impact it has here,” said SSMCOC executive director Rory Ring. “It’s not just the job creation, but the sponsorship by our business community into the social fabric of our community.
“We can only do that if we’re generating the economy within Sault Ste. Marie that allows those companies to do just that.”
Steve Meating, co-owner of Joe’s Sports and Surplus, says the pandemic has spurred on the outdoor recreation industry to the point where ownership has expanded its business by purchasing the former Velorution property at Old Garden River Road and Second Line East in May of this year.
The business expanded into paddle sports earlier this year, with plans to further expand its fishing gear and other recreational supplies in the near future.
“The ‘shop local’ has really kind of opened our eyes - people are willing to spend on higher-end products. So we’re not as nervous to bring in some of the higher-end backpacks, because people do buy them,” Meating said.
“Everyone has really made me proud in supporting local, and by supporting businesses with their own wallets and their own purses - making those purchases, making sure that they fit that into their ideas and plans,” said Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan. “And I think it’s resonating, and you’re seeing it through different supply chains. You’re seeing restaurants that are serving local and area-sourced foods on their menu.”