Small Business Month is a national celebration of Canadian entrepreneurs and their contribution to Canada’s economy.
For example, did you know that in 2018 there were a total of 517,100 businesses operating in B.C. and of these, 508,700 (98 per cent) were small businesses with fewer than 50 employees?
There are also some impressive statistics about the important role these businesses play, the number of local jobs they provide and the ways in which they give back.
I would like to focus on the people (our friends and neighbours) behind these numbers, the small business owners who have worked so hard to build their businesses and become an integral part of our community.
Here in Port Hardy, 96 per cent of the Port Hardy Chamber Membership is comprised of small businesses, they employ locally, pay salaries and taxes, support our community events, respond generously to countless requests for prizes and cash, and they sponsor our sports teams.
Today, with our economy facing its most significant upheaval in a century, these same businesses are most at risk. Local businesses need our support now, in the same way that they have supported our community time and time again.
It is in each and every one of us to do this by being mindful of the impact of our spending. How can we help?
As we know COVID-19 is a substantial threat to the survival of our business community and with it our way of life.
Losing any of our small businesses would be felt deeply and would change the way we live. Let us ask ourselves to really think about how our shopping and spending habits can make a real difference.
Here at the Chamber we talk about ‘Shop Local’ a lot, and it is perhaps becoming an overused phrase and losing its effectiveness, but as we navigate our way through these hard times shopping local is more important than ever.
If we truly value and appreciate our lifestyle here, then each one of us must play a part by spending our money in Port Hardy whenever possible.
You do not have to go far to find groceries, clothing, toiletries, hardware, auto parts, appliances, a great hairstyle…
The list is long, and you can pretty much find anything you might need right here. If you can’t find what you are looking for, and before taking your business online or down island, please consider asking your local merchant if they can get whatever it is for you, you might be surprised by what can be ordered in.
We can also help by patronizing our great restaurants, coffee shops and other service providers, and by buying gift cards from them for holiday giving. Amazon, Costco and the like do not need our business, they will survive (in fact they are thriving).
Right now, our money is needed at home. By purchasing from local businesses, we are casting our vote for the kind of community we want.
Elizabeth Aman-Hume, Executive Director
Port Hardy Chamber of Commerce