Jeff Bray is the executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association. (rickcollinsphotography.com)

COLUMN: Holiday shopping in 2020 crucial to Greater Victoria businesses

Jeff Bray is the executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association

Jeff Bray executive director

Downtown Victoria Business Association

Victoria, and indeed the world, continues to face the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here on Vancouver Island, we managed the health side of the pandemic with great success so far and we are starting to get the sense that things are OK. In truth, however, our local economy continues to operate with paper thin margins.

Small and medium sized businesses continue to struggle to keep their doors open. Their staff experience reduced hours while facing rent payments, groceries expenses, and other living costs.

With the end of the extremely modest tourism season, businesses need Victorians from Sooke to Sidney to support local more than ever. Let me be clear: we are not talking about businesses thriving, we are truly talking about businesses surviving.

To date, the support of local businesses by Greater Victorians have been amazing. We are so appreciative for the local love shared in the region. As we head deeper in fall and winter, that support is more critical than ever.

So, what can you do? First, continue to make downtown part of your shopping and dining routine. Make that extra effort visit your favourite downtown shops and enjoy delicious lunches and dinners with family and friends within your bubble.

RELATED: Downtown Victoria needs everyone’s support

When it comes to holiday shopping, please make purposeful buying decisions. Consider giving gift cards to restaurants as gifts this year. For your staff, a gift card to their favourite boutique or restaurant is a wonderful way to show your appreciation and support local businesses and their employees. For your office, plan take out meals for the office to help keep restaurants open.

Consider shopping earlier this year to inject much needed revenue into businesses immediately. If shopping online, make the effort to seek out you items from local shops. Search out your favourite store for their online offerings rather than just searching for the item in the search engine. That extra effort leads directly to keeping our family, friends, and neighbours employed through the winter season. Amazon is doing just fine, and your dollars staying in Victoria are infinitely more powerful.

This winter, discover new downtown streets, explore new restaurants or coffee shops. Make new memories for your homegrown holiday this year. Together, we can ensure that our downtown core survives and is ready to thrive when we come out of this pandemic. It may be too early for holiday decorations, but for the sake of our local businesses, now is the time to start preparing for the holidays.

– Jeff Bray is the executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association.

Small Business

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

Just Posted

The old home at 785 Island Rd. is coming down as the developer was unable to find a feasible business case to save it. (Black Press Media File Photo)
With no takers to move old Oak Bay home, teardown begins

‘We tried a last hurrah,’ developer says

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes delivers the inaugural address at council’s swearing-in ceremony in November 2018. The ceremony included blessings from representatives of two Christian churches. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes delivers the inaugural address at council’s swearing-in ceremony in November, 2018. The ceremony included blessings from representatives of two Christian churches – a fact highlighted in a report released by the BC Humanist Associaton on Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Christian-based prayer at inaugural Vancouver Island council meetings violates court ruling

Blessings violate Supreme Court decision that prayer in council is discriminatory

Bystanders attend to a cyclist who is knocked to the pavement of Oak Bay Avenue. Witnesses say the cyclist was knocked off their bike in a dooring incident on Oak Bay Avenue at Fell Street at around 12:40 p.m. on Wednesday. 
(Daniel Opden Dries Photo)
UPDATED: VicPD tickets driver for ‘dooring’ cyclist on Oak Bay Avenue

Incident occurred at Oak Bay Avenue and Fell Street

Jason Soukochoff is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, say Victoria police. (Courtesy VicPD)
Victoria police seek man with violent criminal history against elderly

Jason Soukochoff wanted on Canada-wide warrant for parole violations

Leah Davis, store manager at Oscar & Libby’s in downtown Victoria, sets out stock at their Fort Street location. The pandemic has changed the way this retailer and others do business, says owner Teri Hustins. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Pandemic alters holiday business strategies for Victoria merchants

Many independent merchants count on holiday shopping to get them through quiet periods

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 24

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

British Columbia Premier John Horgan speaks during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Horgan is set to introduce his NDP government’s new cabinet Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP cabinet built to tackle pandemic, economic recovery, says former premier

Seven former NDP cabinet ministers didn’t seek re-election, creating vacancies in several high-profile portfolios

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
B.C. woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Surrey’s Deb Antifaev

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

An excavator was stolen from a rural property south of Nanaimo this month, say police. (Photos submitted)
Excavator stolen from property south of Nanaimo

Bobcat Mini believed to have been stolen between Nov. 12-14, say RCMP

Most Read