Ed Holden owns and operates The Christmas Store at Potters, located on 48th Avenue in Surrey. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

Ed Holden owns and operates The Christmas Store at Potters, located on 48th Avenue in Surrey. (Photo: Tom Zillich)

SHOPPING

‘B.C. Buy Local Week’ kicks off with urgent plea to holiday shoppers

‘Local businesses are just hanging on,’ says organizer of the week-long campaign

Many smaller, independent businesses may face closure if B.C. shoppers don’t make a strong effort to buy local this holiday season.

So warn backers of B.C. Buy Local Week, which started Monday (Nov. 30) and continues until Dec. 6, as “an annual celebration of the unique contributions that B.C. businesses make to our economy.”

The ninth annual initiative encourages consumers to do their holiday spending at locally-owned businesses, to keep businesses open after being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Local businesses are just hanging on, and really need our support at this time,” says Amy Robinson, founder and executive director of LOCO BC, which co-ordinates the Buy Local Week campaign in the province.

“Retail sales this year have plummeted, while online shopping with multinationals has soared. BC Buy Local Week is a great time to start shifting your shopping towards local businesses when making your holiday purchases, including buying gifts, gift cards, food or drinks.”

Ed Holden operates the Christmas Store at Potters, a 28,000-square-foot destination store at 192nd Street and 48th Avenue in Surrey.

“I buy stuff on Amazon and websites, too, because sometimes you just can’t find it in stores,” Holden said. “But there’s not much we don’t have here, and we try to the make the shopping experience fun. We have some locally made products, a good mix.”

The garden shop’s Christmas store first opened 16 years ago as a way to keep staff employed year-round, he said.

“This has worked really well for us, and it’s a fun time of year for us,” said Holden, who lives in White Rock. “We put on a lot of extra staff at Christmas, and employees from the other stores come here to work.”

This year year the store layout has changed, with wider aisles and other COVID-19 protocols.

“There isn’t a lot of things for people to do this Christmas,” Holden noted, “so we try to have something here for everyone. Someone wrote that you know, ‘You can go there, you don’t have to pay to get in and it’s free, something to do.’ Well, I’d never thought of it that way.”

• RELATED STORY, from Nov. 2: Surrey’s huge ‘Christmas Store’ has opened for the season inside nursery

Meantime, in the absence of an in-person trade show this year, Surrey-based operators of the West Coast Christmas Show have launched “e-Shops” as an online shopping portal for products made and sold by local artisans and business operators.

Event producer Heather Angeard long ago resigned herself to the cancellation of the event, typically held at Abbotsford’s TradeEx facility, due to COVID-19 health restrictions on visitor attendance at such gatherings.

Angeard said she’s been troubled by the financial hardship the cancellation would have on the nearly 300 vendors, a large percentage of them “small homegrown businesses and artisans from throughout the province who rely each year on live events to find customers for their products.”

West Coast Christmas Show typically attracts 19,000 visitors each year.

To create the e-Shop, she had to develop an entirely new web platform directly tied to westcoastchristmasshow.com.

“The website has always enjoyed huge visitor numbers, as people would check the site for more information on the upcoming event and the lineup of vendors and even some of the products and artifacts that they would be selling at the show,” Angeard said.

• READ ‘OUR VIEW’: Businesses in Surrey need us this Christmas.

E-commerce is a key to Surrey Store to Door, launched last spring in response to the pandemic, as a place where Surrey-area residents can shop online from businesses close to home. The directory now involves 523 businesses, who register for free, and has attracted more than 36,200 shoppers to date.

“I’d say the bulk of them are Surrey residents, so we’re seeing local residents rise up and support their local businesses,” said Stephen Wu, Surrey’s manager of economic development.

A recent revamp of the Store to Door website includes special deals along with additional retailers and service providers.

“We have a lot of personal-care services with gift cards, fashion, jewelers, quite a diverse number of business, including counselling for mental health services,” Wu noted.

“I think this shows there’s a lot of appetite and appreciation that the city is helping to promote local businesses in the community.”

Surrey’s Downtown Business Association is part of an “Open With Care” campaign urging Surrey residents to shop locally in a show of support for businesses that are taking a “significant economic hit” on account of the pandemic. The BIA’s website includes a Business Directory of 1,400 members, at downtownsurreybia.com.

Surrey Councillor Allison Patton, on behalf of Mayor Doug McCallum, read out a proclamation at the Nov. 23 meeting concerning BC Buy Local Week.

“Purchasing goods and services from locally owned businesses strengthens the local economy, fosters community and contributes to a greener province,” Patton said.

with file from Tom Zytaruk

ChristmasRetailing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sports broadcaster and 30-year high school football coach Farhan Lalji. (Image via farhanlalji.com)
Farhan Lalji chats about the new B.C. high school sports governance proposal

Lalji, a 30-year high school football coach, thinks the new proposal will be bad for student athletes

(Photo: MOSAIC/Facebook)
Organization receives $10K from B.C. government to tackle racism in Surrey, White Rock

Funding to go toward forum for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Reports of student attendance ‘dwindling’ at Surrey schools: teachers’ association

STA president said he’s heard from staff that students might not attend in-person for 4th quarter

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

Most Read