Love Northern BC is a movement connecting people with the independent locally-owned businesses that are the heart and soul of their communities. The program is designed to deliver unique marketing campaigns in communities throughout northern B.C. that celebrate independent locally-owned businesses with an aim to strengthen their competitiveness and keep more dollars in the local economy.
The program represents a partnership between Northern Development Initiative Trust and communities throughout the region.
Love Northern BC had its not-so-humble beginnings in Quesnel, B.C. Quesnel entrepreneur Amy Quarry developed a vision to help small businesses hold their own against the onslaught of chain stores and online competition, and to inspire communities to support and shop with their local business owners and neighbours.
Beyond our wildest expectations
This potential was realized through ongoing committed funding and support from Northern Development Initiative Trust, expanding the Small Town Love experiment into a movement. Chances are, if you live in northern B.C. there is likely a LOVE project in your community. Through partnerships between the Trust and local community economic development champions, Small Town Love has grown into Love Northern BC – the largest shop local program in Canada. More than 74 northern BC communities are participating, showcasing more than 1,600 unique, locally-owned and independent northern B.C. businesses, across a region that covers about two thirds of the province. And the project just continues to grow.
When you live in a region as diverse, creative, and spirited as northern B.C., there is no shortage of inspiration to continue to develop heart-centered marketing ideas. Love Northern BC will continue to seek and develop opportunities to build real, human connections – between neighbours, shoppers, business owners, and visitors – throughout the region.
Features and benefits of the program
- The portals feature first-rate photography, storytelling and a variety of independent locally-owned businesses in each community that range from bakeries and coffee shops, to gift stores, salons, quilters and health food stores.
- Each of the web portals features a search bar and directory function to quickly find businesses online, plus a map function that helps residents and tourists to the community locate and visit each business with ease.
- The program is available to communities located within Northern Development’s service region.
- Participating communities receive ongoing program planning and implementation support from Northern Development staff.
- Love Northern BC projects are open to independent locally-owned businesses (non-franchise) that are located in project communities. Certain kinds of home-based businesses are eligible including artisans, crafters, artists, food producers and farmers, but direct sales home-based businesses that are distributing for a larger brand are not. Love Northern BC as a marketing tool works best for businesses that are focused on retail goods and services rather than industrial companies.
- Businesses that wish to participate in the program in project communities are required to pay a one-time registration fee of $100 per business.
Benefits for businesses
- Love Northern BC is designed to strengthen the competitiveness of independent locally-owned businesses and keep more dollars in the local economy.
- Besides increased online exposure for small businesses, there are numerous benefits to participating in Love Northern BC:
- Each business receives a detailed online profile prepared by a professional writer.
- Each business participates in a professional photo shoot and has access to some of those photos to use for their own promotional needs.
- Each business has the ability to advertise upcoming events and special promotions on its Love Northern BC profile page.
- Each profile receives ongoing promotion and inbound web links from the Love Northern BC Facebook pages.
- Participating businesses will have access to a stronger network of local independent business owners and entrepreneurs in their community.
Get your community involved!
Visit lovenorthernbc.com to find out if your community is already part of the Love Northern BC movement. If your community is interested in becoming a Love Northern BC community or to learn more about this program, please contact Northern Development Initiative Trust.