x
Credit: Chamber on Twitter

Vancouver’s Chambar Restaurant is one of many participants in the Support Local BC program

The online marketplace lets consumers buy gift certificates to hundreds of small businesses in more than 50 communities

A digital platform helping B.C. small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic just reached an impressive milestone. Since it launched in April, Support Local BC, which sells gift certificates to roughly 1,330 companies provincewide, has racked up $400,000 in sales.

The effort, a partnership with Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, Loco BC, the British Columbia Economic Development Association, Northern Development Initiative Trust and Think Local First, started in Victoria and now covers some 50 communities. Registered businesses don’t have to cover payment processing costs for gift certificates purchased on the platform.

For a week in August, Vancity drove sales by giving Support Local BC customers a $25 discount for spending $50 or more with one of the credit union’s business members participating in the program. That offer generated more than $260,000 in revenue for Vancity business members.

“We’re so amazed at the support that people have shown to their local businesses with their shopping dollars, and we are proud to be their champion alongside our partners on this program,” Michèle Hamilton, managing director of Think Local First and Support Local BC, said in a statement. “The success of the Vancity Loves Local Week campaign provides other communities and sponsoring organizations with a blueprint for building momentum in their own communities.”

Businesses can join Support Local BC, which sells gift certificates in $10, $25, $50 and $100 denominations, for free by signing up here.

The nonrefundable gift certificates, available at supportlocalbc.com and delivered by email, have no expiry date. Buyers have the option to send them to friends and family.