Calgarians encouraged to support small businesses this holiday season
Matthew Hillier, Staff Writer
The City of Calgary is encouraging Calgarians to shop local with the Support Local YYC program which has been active for the last four years.
The city is aiming to garner support for local business owners across the city. Restaurants, spas, gyms, catering services and many more local shops and services fall under the banner of Support Local YYC.
Mayor Jyoti Gondek says that she is happy to lend her support for the program.
“Small businesses are the engine of our economy, accounting for over 95 per cent of businesses in the city and generating four times more economic activity than large corporations,” says Gondek.
One of those engines of economy is the Calgary’s Farmers Market (CFM) which supports over 75 local vendors that rely on the income from the over a million customers per year at their two Calgary locations. Vendors are supported by hard working employees like Mikayla Jayne, the marketing and events coordinator for the CFM’s south location.
“So one of my big reasons why I love working here is that we do have people who do incredible things. Like Red Barn Mercantile, which is a woman who has a greenhouse and is growing amazing things. But she’s so busy that she doesn’t have time to do marketing and to be doing social media. So while they have those channels, and a lot of the employees at each individual vendor, to be doing their posting and do a little marketing on their own, having the marketing to support them wholeheartedly is a big win for them.”
This new program and the push from both the city and the mayor herself to put small businesses on the map shouldn’t come as a surprise as Calgary has been constantly developing its 15 Business Improvement Areas (BIA). These range from 17th Ave all the way to Victoria Park. These areas contain hundreds of small businesses looking to make a mark on Calgary entertainment and retail scene.
One of these local businesses and services that fall under the Support Local YYC program is run by a passionate MRU student who has been selling custom made jewellery on Etsy for the past year.
Abigail Caballero runs Pasensya Mahal Co. which translated to English means “patience love.” Caballero started her business in April 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting in her bedroom as both an additional source of income and an outlet to aid her mental health, she has grown her business since then and is very excited to continue to share her love of the Filipino-Canadian culture she was raised in.
The Support Local YYC program seems tailor made for Caballero’s small business as more local attention towards her products takes a lot of work off her already full plate.
“It’s important to understand that small businesses usually consist of one to 10 employees. I do not have the luxury of having a designated marketing team like Amazon so receiving support from the local government allows me to venture with new business decisions to further my development.”
Caballero is also very excited to further expand her business and contribute to the vibrant business community of Calgary.
“Small businesses largely contribute to the success of this new economy. When I walk around communities like Bridgeland or Kensington, I recognize why I want to stay in Calgary and begin a family in the future. Calgary is full of opportunities — each small business operates with passion and love. It’s experiences like walking into a local milktea shop, visiting a ramen restaurant, biking down the Bow River or exploring 17th Ave that drive Canadians to visit Calgary,” Caballero adds. More than half of every $100 spent at small businesses like Caballero’s ends up recirculating back into the local economy, making supporting local shops and restaurants beneficial for both buyers and their favourite businesses across the city.