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Annual Calgary #SupportLocalYYC campaign back with hyperlocal call to action

With the holiday season upon the city, the City of Calgary is urging Calgarians to think closer to home this year—much closer.

Mayor Jyoti Gondek launched the annual #SupportLocalYYC campaign in Calgary’s northeast at a shopping plaza she’s shopped at many times.

Speaking at Pooja’s Boutique, she said the stop reflected her own origins as a Calgarian and as a member of the Punjabi community.

“Today we are up in Cityscape, because this is where I come to shop for a lot of the things that we need,” she said.

“Pooja’s Boutique is a great example, and some of the great outfits that I’ve been able to wear over the years have come from here.

“This is where I shop, so I thought I would invite Calgarians to get to know it a little bit better.”

The Support Local campaign encourages citizens to consider local businesses as part of their shopping mix, and reminds them of the benefits that come with keeping dollars in the local economy.

Out of every $100 spent locally, more than half remains in local circulation. And in terms of Calgary’s business mix, more than 95 per cent of businesses in the city are local businesses.

“They employ about two thirds of our labour force, and the value of shopping local is that it has four times the impact on our economy,” said Mayor Gondek.

“So this holiday season, I would encourage you to find some great local businesses to support whether you need an outfit, whether you need to get a gift, whether you need to get some food to take to an event… it matters because it supports our local businesses, and they are the very heart of our economy.”

Bobby Chawla, owner of Pooja’s Boutique, and Mayor Jyoti Gondek hold up a “Come In We’re Local” sign during the annual #SupportLocalYYC campaign in Calgary on Wednesday, November 30, 2022. ARYN TOOMBS / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Family owned and operated means supporting your neighbours and friends

Ward 5 Coun. Raj Dhaliwal was on hand to also support the campaign launch. He reflected on how he began his own municipal election campaign in the same Cityscape complex with a shop local message.

“I was saying that we need to invest local, shop local, buy local because that makes our local communities more resilient, stronger, and given Ward 5, which is very diverse where we see lots of influx of newcomers, it just make sense because these are the jobs where they can work,” he said.

Coun. Dhaliwal said that there was room within the city’s campaign to also promote the many business outside of the formal business improvement areas and the Downtown Core, in addition to those within.

“We always talk about downtown strategy; I always say where is the non-downtown strategy, and this is great to see that the focus is shifting here,” he said.

“I’m encouraging these businesses all the time to create a BIA, to become part of that to get that collective voice, so this is refreshing.”

He said that like the Mayor, Pooja’s Boutique was one of the businesses where his family has shopped.

He said that locally-owned businesses that are also family run, like Pooja’s Boutique, creates strength and resilience in the marketplace because they better meet the needs of their customers..

The boutique, owned by entrepreneur Bobby Chawla, moved to their Cityscape location just as the pandemic began.

“They’re less prone to recessions, because they cater to a certain segment of the market that has its own niche,” said Coun. Dhaliwal.

“The strength of them is that these folks who live around here, they love investing and buying from these businesses, because they know this business could be a business owned by their neighbour and they want to support that neighbour, it could be a business owned by someone who is a new entrepreneur and trying their luck, and they want to uplift them.”

For more on the #SupportLocalYYC campaign, see www.calgary.ca/supportlocal.