Love Downtown PG campaign launch

There's a shop local campaign being launched by Northern Development Initiative Trust and Downtown PG today from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Two Rivers Gallery.

Love Downtown PG is a free event to celebrate locally owned and operated businesses.

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The campaign is part of the Small Town Love program first launched in Quesnel by Amy Quarry, who is now in charge of the program that includes 17 communities throughout the region.

There are 54 local businesses registered with the Love Downtown PG program that helps promote keeping community dollars in Prince George.

"We've done a neighbourhood version of the program because obviously Prince George is not a small town," said Carla Johnston, executive director of Downtown Prince George. "The uptake on this program is unprecedented, with 54 businesses signed up. This program is geared for tourists but it also targets locals. It is an awareness campaign helping out these local independently owned and operated businesses that don't have the advertising might of Home Hardware, The Keg or White Spot. So the package Northern Development has funded is pretty amazing."

Downtown Prince George is the champion of the local version of the program, Johnston added.

"The launch is trade show meets Studio Fair," said Johnston. "About half of the businesses in the program will have a table at the launch and almost all of them has a free draw, a promotion of some kind or they are giving something away for free - or all three, so there's a lot of engagement there."

To shop local is to invest in the community, Johnston added.

"For every $100 that you spend locally, up to $75 stays in our community, as compared to just $13 when you shop at a big box or chain store, and keeping our dollars circulating locally is key to the economic health of our community," according to a Small Town Love website quote.

"The shop local argument is not to be taken lightly," said Johnston. "It does mean something. What we're trying to do is to provide awareness. Shopping locally is a philosophy, it's a choice but people also need to know what's out there so that's what we're trying to do with this program."

Everyone is invited to attend the launch and enjoy a piece of cake.

Visit lovedowntownpg.com for more information about the program and the 54 local businesses involved.

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