Small Town Love pilot program a big success in six B.C. communities

More than 200 locally owned independent businesses to be marketed and promoted beginning this month thanks to the region’s first-ever collaborative buy-local initiative

Central and northern B.C. – Small Town Love has been officially unveiled with roaring success in six communities across the region. In July, Northern Development Initiative Trust partnered with 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 to deliver a unique marketing campaign that celebrates locally-owned independent businesses with an aim to strengthen their competitiveness and keep more dollars in the local economy.

Since then, more than 200 locally owned independent businesses in those six communities have signed on to have their products and stories featured through unique community web portals. The portals – Love Logan Lake, Love Fort St. James, Love 100 Mile House, Love Vanderhoof, Love Valemount and Love Burns Lake – feature first-rate photography, storytelling and a variety of local 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 Small Town Love program will be celebrated in each of the six communities this month with launch parties. The parties are free to attend, feature appetizers, door prizes and more. Residents and community visitors are encouraged to attend each of the parties.

The parties will be held on the following days:

Valemount November 6 5 pm Valemount Community Hall
Vanderhoof November 20 6 pm Nechako Senior Friendship Centre
Logan Lake November 21 5 pm Logan Lake Golf Course
Fort St. James November 22   To Be Announced
100 Mile House November 27 6 pm 100 Mile Curling Club
Burns Lake November 28 6 pm Chamber of Commerce Heritage Room

Small Town Love was launched as a pilot program designed to promote small business in communities with populations of 5,000 or less. 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.

Given the success of the pilot program, Northern Development anticipates that Small Town Love will be expanded in 2014 and available to communities with populations of 5,000 or less throughout Northern Development’s service region.

Quotes:

“With more than 200 business signed on in six communities, there’s no question that the Small Town Love pilot program has been a huge success,” said Evan Saugstad, Chair, Northern Development Initiative Trust. “Small Town Love delivers on the Trust’s mandate to help grow and diversify the economy in central and northern B.C., and we look forward to continually supporting our small, locally-owned businesses throughout the region in the years ahead.”

“Nearly 30 business have signed up to become a part of Small Town Love in Logan Lake, and I’m certain that this web portal will drive new traffic to their front doors and support business growth in our community,” said District of Logan Lake Acting Mayor Robin Smith.

“Small Town Love has helped the business community in Fort St. James collaborate in a new and innovative way that celebrates the many amazing locally-owned businesses that call this historic community home,” said District of Fort St. James Mayor Rob MacDougall.

“Small Town Love has been a resounding success in the District of 100 Mile House, with more than 40 local businesses signing up to celebrate their stories and gain new customers,” said District of 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall. “This program will be a hit with residents and visitors to our community alike.”

“Love Vanderhoof has been a positive experience for our community. To succeed, we need to have strong locally owned independent businesses, and this project will help them prosper, ” stated Mayor Gerry Thiessen of the District of Vanderhoof. “We are pleased to partner with Northern Development on this initiative to support the health and growth of our local businesses.”

“‎What do you say to economic development that strengthens community, that builds our capacity and makes Valemount more vibrant and connected? I say let’s party!” said Village of Valemount Mayor Andru McCracken. “Love Valemount focuses our attention on entrepreneurs who deserve celebration, so let’s celebrate. Many thanks to Northern Development for helping us‎ with this thoughtful, vital initiative.”

“More than 30 businesses have signed up to take part in Love Burns Lake, proving that not only does our community have a thriving entrepreneurial spirit but also that our community leaders love to collaborate,” said Village of Burns Lake Mayor Luke Strimbold. “Thanks to Northern Development for supporting this investment in our community, which I know will reap rewards for our business owners for years to come.”

“Seeing the enthusiasm and creativity of the people who have partnered with us to bring Small Town Love to their communities has been very inspiring,” said Amy Quarry, founder, Small Town Love. “We had an overwhelming response from the business community, which speaks to the heart and soul that these communities have. I am very proud of these projects and I’m excited to continue delivering Small Town Love to more communities throughout the region.”

Northern Development Contact:

Joel McKay
Director, Communications
Northern Development Initiative Trust
Tel: 250.561.2525
Cell: 778.349.4027
joel@northerndevelopment.bc.ca

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, $116 million in funding has been committed to 1,254 projects in communities throughout central and northern British Columbia.

  • 5,856 jobs have been created.
  • 2,127 partnerships with 723 organizations have attracted over $1.1 billion in new investment to the region.
  • 73% of investments are in small communities with populations less than 5,000.
  • Local grant writers supported by Northern Development have helped communities access $77.2 million in funding since 2010.

For information on Northern Development and the community economic development projects being led in communities throughout northern B.C., visit: http://www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca

Community Contacts: