Sault Chamber of Commerce encourages people to 'Love Local'

The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce is launching an initiative to highlight the importance and the benefits of supporting local businesses. The "Love Local" campaign is made possible by a contribution from the federal government's Shop Local program.

Rory Ring, president of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, said the $135,000 in funding will be used to market and promote local small businesses, which he said forms the backbone of the local economy.

"It creates jobs, it helps support not-for-profit agencies, sponsorships of youth athletics," Ring said. "There's a lot of things our small business community does to support the local community and build a strong social fabric for the community."

Marnie Stone, the owner of Stone's Office Supply, agrees with Ring, adding the pandemic has been hard on businesses.

"It helps to keep the economy thriving and it's really so important - more now than ever before," Stone said. "If people can shop locally, it's so appreciated by all the local businesses."

Stone said there already seems to be a trend among local consumers to support small businesses.

"Because we're an office supply store, we deal with lots of other local businesses in town and they've said the same sentiment too, that people are really trying to make an effort to shop locally, however, and whenever they can," Stone said.

Ring, meantime, says the "Love Local" campaign will aim to capitalize on the holiday buying season.

"Cyber Monday, Black Friday, encouraging people to look locally for all those deals here that our businesses can provide," Ring said. "And then, obviously, the Christmas buying season and Boxing Week."

The "Love Local" campaign launches Thanksgiving weekend and will continue until Valentine's Day.