Brockville provides extra space for shoppers to visit downtown businesses during pandemic
Brockville residents pose for a picture with the "Big Spend" promotion sign on Saturday. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)
BROCKVILLE -- A new campaign launched in Brockville on Saturday encouraging people to shop local and support the downtown.
King Street was closed to traffic for the day, allowing people to practice physical distancing while walking between businesses.
It also coincided with a one-day initiative called the "Big Spend."
“The Big Spend is a national initiative to make awareness of the small businesses and how to support them especially through COVID,” said Pamela Robertson, executive director of the Brockville & District Chamber of Commerce.
“They supported us through sponsorship, helping with sports teams locally and gift certificates so we need to help them now,” Robertson said on Saturday.
“With having it very open it does allow to do social distancing and feel more comfortable because that’s the concern right now of consumer confidence about coming in and shopping.”
Sam Cowan from the Downtown Brockville BIA agrees.
“Our goal is to bring in some more money for business and boost the economy for all of them so we’re hoping to hear a good reaction come Monday when we talk to them,” Cowan said
“I’ve heard a lot of good feedback already from people. They’re liking that they can walk down the road.”
The goal of the big spend is to get one million Canadians to shop across the country on Saturday with the hope of injecting $100 million into the Canadian economy.
Brockville shoppers were taking advantage on Saturday.
“It’s nice just getting out and enjoying the sunshine,” said Liz, holding a bag of new boots.
“I support it, think it's great. I know that the merchants appreciate it. I live downtown and I shop downtown a lot, I feel it's important to support the local community," Liz said on Saturday.
“All the restaurants have their patios open and I run into people that I know that I haven't seen in months, so its a social event as well so its lovely.” she added.
Siobhán walking with a bag from Limestone and Ivy agreed.
“I am supporting local businesses absolutely. I bought six golf shirts and a top for myself,” she said with a laugh
"You guys are missing out on a huge sales. I mean $20 a golf shirt for guys? I mean like seriously! Twenty bucks! So I got him all different kinds. Definitely come down and support all the businesses because we all support each other."
Claire form the Jewel Box says it almost feels like normal after a quiet few months during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think it's a good thing. It is bringing people out and about. Its giving people a sense of normalcy as much as it can be and what this COVID has cause so much stress and so much anxiety that they can look around and walk around and say 'you know what? It is a normal day,'” she said.
“Its good for the stores, it's good for uplifting people spirits, uplifting business owners spirits that we’re back and we will make it.”
King Street will be closed every second Saturday until Oct. 31 and parking in municipal lots around the downtown area will be free of charge.
And don’t forget your face mask.
“You still need to wear a mask inside, so come down with your social bubble and bring a mask with you,” said Cowan.