During these challenging times, we are all finding ways to support our local shops and restaurants. I know the shopkeepers, pub/restaurant/café owners, barbers and salon owners, etc. and their employees are all so grateful for the incredible support from the Greater Victoria community.
In November, additional restrictions were announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry. As a result, the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) considered the best way to support our businesses over the holiday shopping season. With inclement weather, shorter days, and concerns about rising cases, many people indicated that they were looking for alternative ways to support local over physically visiting the downtown core. The DVBA wanted to ensure people living in Greater Victoria still shopped and dined locally, even if they chose not to come downtown. That is why, in early December, we created Downtown Delivers.
To support our small and medium-sized retailers, the DVBA partnered with three locally owned courier companies to offer free delivery to customers from Sooke to Sidney. The partner couriers are Maximum Express, Geazone Eco-courier, and NomadEx Bike Courier. For retail shoppers who order from a downtown store, the DVBA covers the cost of the delivery. This encourages Greater Victorians to shop local, keeps the purchase price with the retailer, and supports the local couriers.
To offer free meal deliveries from downtown restaurants to people living within a 20-km radius, we partnered with Tutti, a local food delivery app. Partnering with this existing food-delivery company allows the DVBA to cover the delivery charge for the customer and the commission charge for the restaurant, again keeping the entire purchase price with the restaurant.
In the first three weeks of Downtown Delivers, the DVBA covered $40,000 in delivery charges for their downtown business members. That $40,000 would otherwise have been paid for by the businesses and/or their customers. And, that $40,000 went directly into Victoria’s economy, via the use of local delivery companies. The DVBA is so pleased with the success of Downtown Delivers that we have decided to extend this free delivery program through Feb. 15, 2021.
January, February, and March are typically slow months for businesses. This year, considering the impacts of the pandemic on their customers, it will be a challenge for many businesses to stay open and keep their staff employed. Wherever you live – Victoria, Oak Bay, Langford, Saanich, (Sooke and Sidney, for retail delivery), please help us support downtown businesses while enjoying free delivery. Go to www.dvba.ca/downtowndelivers for more information on the Downtown Delivers program.
Jeff Bray is the executive director of the Downtown Victoria Business Association.