Written by Bonny van Rest
As a resident of the West Queen West neighbourhood, I truly enjoy the numerous of local specialty stores. For me that is what makes our neighbourhood. It’s sad to see a lot of our local stores being closed or facing challenges of lower number of visitors every day due to the outbreak of COVID19. At the same time, it’s amazing to see how this challenging time, triggers solidarity and creative solutions that are introduced into our communities. It started me thinking, about something that I could do for our neighbourhood. And that’s how I came up with this initiative: Locals for Locals TO.
The local and independent bars, restaurants and stores for me are what makes Queen West so special. You can feel the vibe of entrepreneurs, the passion and drive of people to what they love. It takes years of hard work, love and passion to build a business from the ground up and even in good times these small businesses often operate on small margins and are very dependent on the local community and returning customers. And most of them are hit pretty hard in this pandemic. So that is why I felt if there is even a small thing that I can do to help, I’d love to do it.
Locals For Locals Goodie Bag
Locals for Locals TO works together with local businesses to put an amazing Goodie Bag together, with featured quality products from a variety of local West Queen West stores. Locals can purchase a Goodie Bag online and Locals for Locals takes care of the packaging and the home delivery within a certain area. All products from the local stores are paid for in full, and with the additional proceeds a donation is made to the Daily Bread Food Bank, to also support our most vulnerable locals.
Building the initiative
It’s been an amazing experience already! From the initial idea to finding stores to participate, meeting the incredible entrepreneurs of each store, building my own webshop, creating a marketing campaign, getting the logistics in place for pick up and delivery and the excitement of waiting for the first couple of customers! But most importantly, it feels like a great opportunity to do something valuable for our community: our beloved local stores and locals in need.
Bringing the community together
For the small businesses, ‘Locals for Locals’ provides an opportunity to work together with other local entrepreneurs, introduce themselves to new locals, continue to share their local goodies with locals who are staying at home and promote their own delivery or pick up service.
“We are so pleased to be participating in the locals for locals initiative. During a time that’s thrown our small business for a loop, it is so refreshing and appreciated to find someone working to help us steady our ship.
With a reliable weekly demand for our delicious house-made granola, and continued exposure to new neighbours, Bonny is helping us maintain some normalcy and sense of community, which is really what we’re missing since our coffee bar closed.”
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be a part of Local for Locals. Our very own local neighbourhood resident Bonny began the Local for Locals initiative to bring the very best of our neighbourhood goods to the greater Toronto community.
We feel this has allowed those who may truly enjoy these products and those new to them, the opportunity of having them delivered all in one yummy awareness raising ‘essentials’ basket.
Since many people are finding shopping at all their favourite spots in the city challenging, Bonny has done all the work of bringing them to the community. She’s made it so easy for us and she’s giving back big time. She’s made it so easy for us and she’s giving back big time.
Amazing. Thank you Local for Locals!”
Participating Local Stores and Delivery Area
The idea of the initiative is for locals to get to know some new local businesses and their specialty products. So they might be triggered to order from the local store directly, and of course go and visit them when all of this is over! What I hadn’t anticipated when I started, was that people would order the Goodie Bags for someone else. I’ve seen orders for birthdays, for frontline workers and for family and friends as a means to brighten up someone’s day. I love it, as it adds even another way to support locals in these times!
Do you love the West Queen West neighbourhood and the charm of it’s local stores as much as I do? Support them by ordering your Goodie Bag at www.localsforlocals.ca. Just a moment of joy, for yourself or to send to a friend or family member who deserves a little something.
As the initiative grows, Locals for Locals TO is looking to create a new Goodie Bag every 2 weeks, with new products and new partnered stores. If you are a local shop and would like to feature your local products in our Goodie Bag, reach out direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.