Roncesvalles Village is a neighbourhood in Toronto, Canada, full of small businesses that rely on street trade and tourism. 2020 has been a nasty year there. Over a dozen small local businesses have closed due to their decline in sales, the imposed restrictions and giants like Chapters and Amazon.
A campaign by Toronto agency, The Local Collective, for Roncesvalles Village Business Improvement Area (BIA) is helping the area to pick up business again in the holiday season by encouraging the local community to shop within its area with an inventive idea.
The program was launched by placing For Lease signage on over 50 store windows spanning several blocks along Roncesvalles Avenue, and covering the windows in craft paper for one day as a reminder of what can happen if Canadians only think of larger retailers during these pandemic altered times. On the outside the stores appeared as though they had gone out of business, but upon closer inspection the message was one of support and requesting help from their local community.
“Now more than ever, small businesses are going up against big massive companies like Amazon. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our neighbourhoods in Toronto and of our country. It’s up to all of us to support what we have locally, when and if we can,” explained, Kaitlin Doherty, founder and managing director, The Local Collective.
“Roncy is such a vibrant neighbourhood. Only a global pandemic could keep this community at home and I’m really proud of how this community has handled the seriousness of this time. This campaign is a reminder to shop local even when we are shopping online,” added Adam Langley, vice-chair Roncesvalles Village BIA.
The goal of the initiative is to show the people of Roncesvalles that without their support and patronage, their local neighbourhood businesses, many of which are owned and operated by their neighbours and friends, will not survive through this pandemic. Ultimately, if the businesses dwindle, close down and leave, so will their neighbourhood property value.
The program will continue into December reminding holiday shoppers that local online shopping is available along with offer curbside pick-up, same-day local delivery.