The Bahamas Federation of Retailers (BFR) yesterday launched the ten-week Shop Local initiative, hoping to encourage Bahamians to support local businesses this upcoming holiday season by shopping at home, with the initiative’s director Alannah Van Onselen insisting that due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this holiday season will make or break businesses in the country.
The BFR held a virtual press conference yesterday to announce the start of the public relations blitz for the initiative.
Van Onselen, who is also a BFR director and president of Bahama Hand Prints, said the campaign is an important one if Bahamians are considering the survivability of local businesses.
“You have to look at the bigger picture this year,” said Van Onselen. “Businesses have taken a huge hit all over The Bahamas. A lot of retailers have only been able to operate with their doors open for a few months this year. I know that everyone’s worked really hard to have product and be ready for the Christmas season.
“The value-add is that you’re supporting your community, you’re supporting jobs, you’re supporting the Bahamian economy basically.
“When you shop at home, you’re helping everybody out. It’s
probably really the most simple message out there. It’s important. Every time you shop on Amazon, you’re taking your Bahamian dollar and putting it into the United States or wherever you’re buying from.”
The campaign will reach the community through “radio ads, billboards, social media marketing and newspaper ads designed to educate local consumers about the direct connection between their purchase decisions, national employment and the Bahamian economy’s health”, according to a statement from the BFR.
Van Onselen said 45 companies are already part of the initiative. She said they hope to grow that number and also expand the life of the campaign beyond ten weeks.
The campaign is sponsored by The Mall at Marathon, Nassau Cruise Port Ltd., SouthWest Plaza, AID, Furniture Plus, Graham Thompson Attorneys and the Bahamas Light Industries Development Council.
“Our economic success and sustainability as a country is enhanced when we support the local economy,” Van Onselen said.
“Now more than ever, in light of the devastating impact of COVID-19, the importance of spending dollars at home makes a tremendously positive impact.
“When local consumers shop local, they help to support thousands of existing local jobs, create new ones and build the economy by retaining monies within the community, versus those funds going to a faraway corporation; and they grow entrepreneurship, innovation and diversity in the local economy.”