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Insight: REIBC blog > BIAs Offer Pandemic Assistance

BIAs Offer Pandemic Assistance

posted on 11:08 AM, October 15, 2021
Pick-Up Picnics in Downtown Langley. Credit: BIABC and Downtown Langley Business Association

“To suggest the past year and a half has been a difficult period for business owners in communities across this province is a massive understatement,” says Teri Smith of Business Improvement Areas of BC. “BIAs have proven to be advocates, sources of information and encouragement, and beyond that, partners in the truest sense of the word.”

Across the province, BIAs have been working in their local business communities to organize support, reinvent events, and run marketing campaigns to help businesses survive during pandemic upheaval.

Downtown Langley Business Association contacted every one of its 600 members to lend its support, and it partnered with local tech companies to help businesses establish or enhance their online presence.

Downtown Prince George created a micro-grant program to provide restaurants up to $500 to add plexiglass and outdoor dining tables.

Downtown Victoria Business Association created the Meet Downtown campaign in which business owners told their stories and convinced consumers to shop in the area.

Downtown Surrey BIA used the federal summer jobs grant to hire 19 students who helped independent and family-owned businesses establish or refine their online presence.

Downtown Williams Lake BIA created the Business Portrait Project which painted caricatures of business owners and staff on store windows to make entering stores feel less intimidating.

Hastings North BIA focused on the idea of shopping local, which has strengthened the sense of loyalty to local businesses.

Downtown Kelowna Association created an e-commerce directory to inform local consumers where they can find favourite goods and services.

A coalition of 22 Vancouver BIAs delivered a series of campaigns, including Take Out to Help Out supporting local eateries and Gift Big Shop Small holiday campaign supporting retailers.

Input Summer 2021
Download Summer 2021

Smith has interviewed the heads of business improvement associations across BC and reports on the last year of activities of several BIAs. Read about the above initiatives and many more in “Advocates for Local Businesses in Uncertain Times” in the Summer 2021 issue of Input. Download Summer 2021

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