The Trail and District Chamber of Commerce is coming up with creative ways to promote Trail businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Chamber Executive Director Erika Krest, with the help of local businesses, has come up with a fun and supportive way to bolster the mood and hopefully the bottom line via a virtual #ThinkLocalFirst BINGO! game.
“We started a Bingo game to build up the local spirit a little bit,” said Krest. “And to promote businesses, because I don’t have to tell you that some businesses are in trouble.”
Whether it’s your favourite hairdresser, salon spa, or server, a preferred coffee shop or restaurant, your finest tattoo artist, fashion haven or sports store, small businesses and their employees have taken the biggest hit the past two months because of shutdowns, layoffs, cutbacks and uncertainty caused by COVID-19.
The chamber and their members encourage residents to go to the Trail Chamber’s Facebook page and follow the directions on the Bingo card.
There will be 10 Bingo cards coming out over the coming weeks with a mix of different businesses on each card. Participating members will post the card to their Facebook and/or Instagram page, or if you don’t have social media, you can cut a copy out of the Trail Times and send to the Chamber once it’s filled.
1. Make a purchase or book a service.
2. Take photos of the great items/food you buy and leave reviews or a comment. Then post to your social media page and tag @trailchamber on Facebook, or @trail.chamber on Instagram.
3. Like a business on social media.
4. Share a positive post telling ‘how you can best support them right now.’
If you complete a line, X, or blackout, you will be entered to win some great prizes at the end of the month.
“We see the potential of growing this Bingo game to something bigger as we move forward,” said Krest.
“We could see something like this happening before Christmas or graduation. Or we can see this in cross-promoting businesses between Castlegar, Nelson, and Trail in the future, so we feel that this could go into something that business owners could get excited about, and also shoppers.”
Provincially, small businesses are suffering and the government anticipates as many as 30 per cent could fail, says Krest.
It’s doubtful that all Trail businesses can weather the COVID storm, so support from the community is crucial during this difficult time.
BC Premier John Horgan announced Wednesday the loosening of restrictions and planned reopening of restaurants, pubs, the retail sector and hair salons by the end of May, but not all businesses are included.
Krest’s own businesses as a reflexologist and B and B owner/operator have been shut down, and while she hopes to resume operations eventually, she recognizes the responsibility of everyone to remain vigilant and safe.
“We need to be very diligent when it comes to reopening and very mindful, because the last thing we want to do is have a second wave,” she added. “But I also understand it’s very hard on the small business community.”
For local business owners, the chamber also runs weekly meetings where they convene online to discuss concerns and options.
“Through Community Futures and Community Futures Greater Trail, the Chamber of Commerce has created a weekly virtual roundtable where we listen to business owners and their questions, and the following week we try to find answers, and bring experts in to answer those questions,” said Krest.
“So we are super connected to our community.”
Krest says the chamber will continue to offer advice and guidance during a stressful time, and is doing her best to ensure business owners and employees get support.
“I feel more connected now to the business community than before,” said Krest. “Because of the virtual life that we live, I’m just sad that I can’t shake hands with our members.”
So to all the home-bound consumers – have fun, go shopping, and #ThinkLocalFirst.
Go online at www.trailchamber.bc.ca or for those not on social media mail your completed bingo cards with your name and contact info to: Trail Chamber of Commerce, 201 – 1199 Bay Ave. Trail, BC, V1R 4A4.