In the face of adversity comes unity and support.
That’s the story in Prince George as business support organizations are coming together during the COVID-19 pandemic to assist local business owners in weathering the impact that physical distancing regulations have had on their livelihoods.
Helping with those efforts is the Support PG website, which was developed by eleven local organizations with a stake in economic development, launching in early May.
“We recognized that Covid-19 was having quite a severe impact on businesses in Prince George, and we, the organizations that partnered under Support PG, wanted to come together to ensure they are receiving the support they need, while also letting the community know that they can support local businesses, because not everyone is closed,” says Christina Doll, the City of Prince George’s Workforce Development Officer.
The Prince George Chamber of Commerce launched a directory of businesses still providing services after the pandemic was declared, it is called Support PG and the City was one organization that joined the effort to build this directory and create a larger marketing campaign.
“Support PG evolved from a directory into something much larger and now consists of a website containing a variety of resources for businesses - a centralized point of access there for them, so they don’t have to go searching for assistance,” Doll says.
During the current restrictions, Doll says many local businesses have sought new ways to adapt and remain open to serve customers.
“They’ve been doing things like, offering curbside pick-up and deliveries,” she says, adding others that may not have had an online presence have set one up now to sell their products.
“It’s been a lot of quick changes for many to continue operating in the new atmosphere in which we find ourselves.”
Patti Perrault, owner of Simply Beautiful Jewelry Design & Clothing says she is grateful to her customers for their support and willingness to embrace the changes to online-focused and doorstep deliveries while her two locations were closed to walk-in traffic.
“We were blessed during this crazy time, our customers supported our shift while our stores were needing to be closed,” Perrault says. “The website was created quickly to gain another avenue for revenue. Online sales were enough to see us through the two months we were closed.”
She was also thankful to her landlords for their assistance.
“They have been wonderful and have helped us to ensure our business survived these last few months. Without their understanding it would have been a whole different picture,” she adds.
Support PG also has a section dedicated to showcasing good news and honouring local heroes who have been instrumental in boosting spirits in their community through efforts like the Hearts of PG, which gained notoriety worldwide for its uplifting and hopeful message by posting homemade hearts in the windows of homes across the community, and now the globe.
“There are business shout outs, featured businesses, and local heroes write-ups that help people see the good things that are happening here,” Doll says.
Website visitors can also take the #SupportPG pledge on the website and show their commitment to supporting local businesses by adding the “I pledge to Support PG” frame to their Facebook profile picture.
“Prince George is a special place,” Doll says. “We are a mid-sized city, but I’ve always felt it has the feeling of a small town where people are always willing to stop and help you out. And that feeling hasn’t changed—the Support PG movement is a good example of that.
“The people of Prince George know that they are stronger together.”
For more about the Support PG website and how it can help business owners and residents, visit supportpg.ca.