Show Some Love to Small Business: Shop Local this Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and many of us are thinking about what gifts to buy for our loved ones. But the question is, what do we get? And from where?

According to a survey conducted by HelloSafe, Canadians are expected to spend an average of $74 on Valentine’s Day gifts and activities. This includes everything from flowers, jewellery and chocolates to dinner dates and weekend getaways.

Sure you can use this money to panic buy roses at the grocery store, but why not take the time to shop for a more unique gift, to show them how much you care? And what better place is there to start, than your local small business.

Why Shop Local?

One of the biggest reasons to shop local is the personal touch. Small businesses are run by people who are passionate about what they sell, and will go the extra mile to make sure that you are happy and satisfied. Often offering personalization, or tailoring towards specific needs. Just like Pretty Handy, who sell jewellery for those with Arthritis, offering that are not only easier to wear, but look pretty too.

Small businesses also have a direct impact on the local economy, by buying goods and services from other local businesses. Just like La Trattoria in Madeira Park, who source their ingredients locally as well as from produce grown on-site. Making the food not only delicious but sustainable.

And then of course there are the businesses that give back to their community. Like Coastal Design Snapback Hats who give a percentage of their sales to BC charities. Meaning you are not only getting a great gift, but you are also helping to support a good cause.

What Should We Spend Our Money On, This Valentine’s Day?

In a study conducted by Forum Research in 2019, 36% of us spent the most on a meal, 15% on candy, 10% on flowers, 6% on jewellery, 4% on clothing, 4% on a gift card, 23% on something else.

However, according to Mastercard’s Love Index, (where they analysed credit, debit and prepaid transactions across the past Valentine periods from 2017-2019), we’re starting to spend more on experiences: with over $161 million spent on flights and trips to celebrate the occasion. And with our province offering a whole host of experiences, from Wine Tours to Kayaking, Heli Skiing to Spas, the possibilities are endless.

What About the Pets?

Don’t have a special person in our life, but love your fur baby or pet lizard? You’re not the only one. In a recent survey by Rover, it found that people spent an average of $50 on their pet last Valentines Day.

And why wouldn’t we? With their sturdy reliance of always being there for us, with a wagging tail or just pure distraction from life, it’s fun to reward those non-human family members! From treats to clothing, massages to toys, there’s something for everyone.

How to Find Businesses to Support

So, we know why it’s good to shop local. But how do we find the businesses we need?

Luckily, Small Business BC has a tool for that: the BC Marketplace. And whether you know what you are looking for, or need to be inspired, there are many ways to use the tool.

  • Keep Local: Know you want to shop local to your region but not sure, what you want to buy? Use the Region drop down on the menu.
  • Specific Item: Know what you want to buy, but not sure where to buy it? Use the free text search box, and it will show you businesses from across BC.
  • Need Inspiration: Have absolutely no idea what to get or where to get it from? Don’t worry. There are a whole host of Gift Guides, just waiting for you to browse them.

With 8.6 million couples living in Canada, just think of the impact if we all shifted our Valentines spending to locally owned independent businesses. So what are you waiting for?