New ShopYQG campaign launched to encourage people to keep their dollars local
Saturday, June 6, 2020
The Windsor Star/Dave Waddell
The message from the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation’s COVID-19 Task Force is there are clear signs the region is moving from responding to the crisis to planning for the future.
With more workers returning to manufacturing plants, a sharp increase in truck traffic and the re-opening of some of the retail sector, there is cautious optimism.
Perhaps the surest sign of that was Friday’s launching of a new ShopYQG campaign to capitalize on the return to life of the economy.
“We know the re-opening is going to be hyper local,” said Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island CEO Gordon Orr, who chairs the tourism and hospitality committee.
“We can survive on the domestic market and that’s what we’re going to go for.
“We’re looking at Windsor Essex, then Southwestern Ontario before moving into the GTA. At the appropriate time, we’ll move back into marketing in the U.S.”
The chairs of the economic sub-committees were joined by Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and WEEDC CEO/President Stephen Mackenzie in a Zoom meeting Friday.
Orr said the U.S. market provides 30 per cent of local visitors. However, with Michigan a COVID-19 hotspot and the border closed, that market is essentially gone in the short term.
“We’re not going to market anywhere until it’s safe,” said Orr, pointing out that means in Ontario as well.
The new campaign is a product of tourism officials and the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce collaborating using internal resources to keep costs negligible.
The campaign has a website (Shopyqg.ca) and already has 200 registered businesses participating. There’ll be resources for both visitors and businesses in the form of tool kits and marketing signage as well as a social media presence.
“It’s a way to deliver attention to local companies and businesses who make great products and services,” said chamber CEO Rakesh Naidu.
“Local companies generate the most employment. This makes complete economic sense.”
Naidu said for every dollar spent at a local business it returns three times as much to the regional economy.
The region’s 2,600 retail businesses employ over 39,000 people.
“There are more jobs per unit of sales in local businesses than in the Big Box stores,” Naidu said.
“Supporting local businesses keeps the economy going, creates employment and keeps money in the region. That’s important right now.”
Naidu said the retail sector is facing additional challenges than just attracting customers back into stores.
There is hesitancy among some employees to return to work.
“A big concern is businesses can’t get enough employees to come back,” Naidu said.
“Twenty-five percent of businesses are not getting enough people back to help re-open. One of the reasons is an anxiety about their health.”
Naidu said a contributing factor is a concern about finding childcare.
“Equally important is the need for childcare,” Naidu said. “We have to make sure childcare becomes available.”
Perhaps the surest sign of the revival of the local economy is the return to life of the automotive industry and its supply chain.
Most automakers began production May 18 and the impact was seen immediately in the volume of business for the logistics industry.
For the week ending May 20, there were 7,118 trucks travelling along Huron Church. That represented a 60 per cent increase from the previous week.
“We’re seeing trucks with loads again,” said Susan Anzolin, executive director for the Institute for Border Logistics and Security.
“Local truckers are now operating at about 50 per cent of normal. They hope to be to 85 per cent in the next 45 days.”