Northern Development partners with six communities on “Small Town Love” buy-local program

July 29, 2013

A pilot-program has been launched to celebrate home-grown businesses to help local economies thrive

Central and northern B.C. – Six communities throughout central and northern British Columbia have partnered with Northern Development Initiative Trust to deliver buy-local campaigns to strengthen local businesses, local competitiveness and keep more dollars in the local economy. The six communities included in the pilot program are the District of Logan Lake, the District of Fort St. James, the District of 100 Mile House, the District of Vanderhoof, the Village of Valemount and the Village of Burns Lake. Each of the six communities has a population of less than 5,000 residents.

Web portals featuring locally-owned businesses (Small Town Love Quesnel pictured) will be developed for each of the six communities approved for funding

The pilot program is a partnership between Northern Development and entrepreneur Amy Quarry, who created and launched the original “Small Town Love” buy-local initiative in the City of Quesnel. With more than 50 local Quesnel-based businesses working collaboratively under the “Small Town Love” marketing brand, Quarry’s original program was extremely well received and highly successful (one-in-five Quesnel residents now own a copy of the first “Small Town Love” guide, which sold out in less than four months). The program is anchored by a strongly branded website with the highest quality photography, which features many independently owned local businesses.

The Northern Development-led pilot program supports the development of buy-local website portals that will promote local businesses in each of the six communities included in the initial partnership. Northern Development’s board of directors, which is made up of elected representatives and provincial appointees from throughout central and northern B.C., approved a $75,000 budget for the pilot program. While many economic development initiatives concentrate effort on business recruitment and new development, the buy-local program is a locally driven retention program that focuses on enhancing the strength of existing businesses. The partnership will operate as a pilot while looking toward the possibility of future projects.


“There is solid evidence that successful buy-local campaigns in smaller communities help the economy thrive,” said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “The Trust exists to serve communities throughout central and northern B.C., and we believe this pilot program celebrates and supports the growth of fantastic home-grown businesses throughout the region.”

“Logan Lake is already home to a number of local, independently-owned businesses and this program will help celebrate them and support their growth,” said District of Logan Lake Mayor Marlon Dosch. “We are grateful to Northern Development for supporting a program like this that directly invests in the well-being of our community.”

“The Small Town Love project is a great opportunity for local businesses in Fort St. James to collaborate and promote what products and services are locally available to the community,” said District of Fort St. James Mayor Rob MacDougall. “We’re very excited as this helps us to build a critical awareness for community members, business and industry to highlight the benefits of shopping locally, in turn helping to strengthen the resilience of our local economy.”

“The District of 100 Mile House is proud to partner with and support our local business owners,” said District of 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall. “This program will enrich our community’s reputation among tourists and entrepreneurs. We are very grateful to Northern Development for partnering with us on this project.”

“Vanderhoof has many unique, independently-owned businesses and this program will help shine a new light on them,” said District of Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen. “We’re proud to partner with Northern Development on this project and support the health and growth of our local businesses.”

“When we in Valemount allow ourselves to consider what our small businesses have managed to pull off: like David’s Funky Goat Eatery, Mel’s Unique Boutique, Mike’s Three Ranges Microbrewery … we realize we live a pretty charmed life in the midst of some stunning small town entrepreneurs,” said Village of Valemount Mayor Andru McCracken. “Whether they’ve been open two years or 30, it’s important to recognize, support and celebrate what they do best!”

“The Village of Burns Lake is excited to be a pilot community for the Small Town Love initiative,” said Village of Burns Lake Mayor Luke Strimbold. “As a small community, we take pride in the great small businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit that makes Burns Lake special. The Love Burns Lake program is a great tool to promote local enterprise and help local businesses make their mark online.”

“We are so excited to be partnering with Northern Development to bring the vision of Small Town Love to more towns in the northern B.C.,” said Amy Quarry, founder, Small Town Love. “Our hope is that Small Town Love can serve as a powerful reminder that B.C.’s small towns are worth visiting, living in — and investing in. Supporting local independent businesses means putting your money where your heart is.”

“While buy-local campaigns can be self-funded by merchants in communities and cities with populations over 5,000, it is very hard for a high quality initiative to be sustainable with the low numbers of independent business owners in most small towns,” said Renata King, Director, Business Development, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “This buy-local program is designed to strengthen businesses in small communities.”

Northern Development Contact:

Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust
Tel:  250.561.2525
Cell:  778.349.4027

About Northern Development

Northern Development Initiative Trust is an independent regional economic development corporation focused on stimulating economic growth and job creation in central and northern British Columbia.

To date, $114 million in funding has been committed to 1,212 projects in communities throughout central and northern British Columbia.

For information on Northern Development and the community economic development projects being led in communities throughout northern B.C., visit:

Community Contacts:

District of Logan Lake:
Derek de Candole
Economic Development Officer

District of 100 Mile House:
Joanne Doddridge

Village of Valemount:
Katy Fabris
Local Government Management Intern

District of Fort St. James:
Emily Colombo
Deputy Corporate Officer and Economic Development Officer

District of Vanderhoof:
Erin Siemens
Economic Development Coordinator

Village of Burns Lake:
Emile Scheffel
Economic Development Officer