(Courtesy of the Downtown Victoria Business Association)

DOWNTOWN DIALOGUE: Small business, the little engine that does

Jeff Bray

Executive Director

Downtown Victoria Business Association

This month, the Downtown Victoria Business Association is celebrating our First Annual Small Business Month, taking what is traditionally a one-week national campaign, and shining the spotlight on our small business members throughout October. It’s an opportunity to remind Victoria of the positive impacts small businesses have on our community.

We have 1500 small businesses within our business association boundaries and I can say with certainty that each one of our members cares deeply about downtown Victoria. They demonstrate their passion and commitment daily. Each story is unique. Some are new Canadians. Others run family businesses. All are focused on providing the best customer service and supporting the local community. They are the backbone of our local economy and our social conscience.

Talk to any small business owner in downtown, and you will quickly learn it is about more that economics, it is about community. You will likely find the owner behind the counter of their shop, making a delivery, or volunteering their time at any number of community events. You may see their logos at those community events, perhaps even on your child’s sports team jersey. You may have had your first job at a small business downtown. It may be that your teenager is working downtown now; and, with that employment is paying their way through college or university.

Successful downtowns are diverse and inclusive, with a mix of old and new establishments. This holds true for downtown Victoria, where we have businesses like Robinson’s Outdoors, who first opened their doors in 1929; or Loy Sing Company in Chinatown, which has been operating in the same location for more than 130 years. Downtown Victoria is also home to many brand-new additions like the locally owned and operated franchise, Fresh Slice Pizza on Douglas, which opened just five months ago.

One of the visible trends I’ve noticed from our small businesses is their incredible passion for and commitment to sustainability. Many of our local restaurants, like the Dutch Bakery, and food retailers, like the Zero Waste Emporium, are committed to zero waste policies. This includes donating any leftover or unused food to local charities, food banks, and homeless shelters. As Peter Ord from the Bateman Foundation says, ‘care for the environment is part of the Victorian identity.’

Downtown Victoria’s First Annual Small Business Month reminds us all to shop locally. When you spend a dollar at a local small business, that dollar stays here supporting the local economy and our community. By supporting small businesses, you are ensuring Victoria remains a great place to live, work, and play.

To learn more about downtown Victoria’s small businesses go to www.dvba.ca/smallbiz to read our in-depth profiles released throughout October.

Jeff Bray is the executive director with the Downtown Victoria Business Association.


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