I hung up the phone feeling inspired, and ready to place an order for flowers. The person on the other end of the call, a local business leader and philanthropist, had just told me that he placed a significant pre-order from Yara Flowers, a local florist and Momentum small business program graduate. He believed in the business and wanted to do what he could for them, to help them try to survive the COVID-19 crisis. The story shows how serious and fast the impact of COVID-19 has been on small businesses as just a couple of months ago Yara Flowers was featured in local media as a local small business success story.
Entrepreneurs are not strangers to the ups and downs of business ownership. The race that small business owners run is more a marathon than a sprint, with plenty of difficult stretches along the way. As citizens and consumers, it is up to us to support that local enterprises like Yara Flowers so they can survive the impact of COVID-19. Small shops and services are just too important to our local economy for them to fail.
As Calgarians, we can be proud that we have Canada’s highest small business population per capita. In fact, between 1998 and 2018, the percentage of Calgary’s companies classified as small was a stunning 94 per cent. Collectively, small ventures are a significant employer, responsible for creating 7 out of 10 jobs. When it comes to business, it is critical to remember that bigger isn’t always better.
During the pandemic, I’ve observed how many entrepreneurs are teaming up in new ways as they move forward. Home Spritz, a local cleaning company that offers quality cleaning to residential and commercial customers, launched an innovative care package campaign. To spread cheer in the community, they ran an online contest to deliver Righteous Gelato (formerly Fiasco Gelato) care packages to 50 Calgarians. Both companies were boosted by this creative promotion.
Our local small businesses are community-focused and are often at the forefront of social responsibility. Home Spritz chose Righteous Gelato for their care packages because both are deeply committed to Calgary and social responsibility, reflected in paying their employees living wages. Righteous Gelato is one of dozens of businesses that are a part of the Be Local Network hosted by Momentum, a group of businesses that have all made a commitment to running companies that do good while they do well.
Social distancing measures don’t have to stop us as consumers from shopping locally and doing what we can for our small business community. The Be Local Network recently launched an online store, where you can browse for products from local businesses in the network and buy with one easy transaction, then pick up at one location.
We can all choose to shop locally whenever possible. Every purchase matters.