The retail industry was among the hardest hit when COVID-19 health safety measures forced an economic lockdown. The vibrant streets of downtown Victoria emptied as store owners made the difficult choice to close, saying goodbye to staff and wondering when they’d be able to return.
Their doors may have been shuttered, but owners have worked hard to not only survive but thrive, finding creative ways to reach and serve their customers. They’ve also been working to ensure a safe shopping experience once they were able to reopen. “We’ve been incredibly impressed by the strength and positivity our merchants have shown during the pandemic,” says Downtown Victoria’s Executive Director Jeff Bray. “They’ve even found ways to be generous through the hardship. They donated time and resources to help the community stay safe and healthy.”
Bray is also heartened by the support Victorians have shown. “They understand investing in the local economy is vital right now. By buying gift cards, ordering take out, and shopping local online, they have been helping businesses stay afloat and friends and family stay employed.”
As Vancouver Island flattens the curve, the Province has greenlit the reopening of retail. “Slowly, but surely, businesses are beginning to reopen their doors,” says Bray, “and that means they’re hiring staff and helping restart the economy.”
This year, without the usual wave of summer tourists, Bray feels it’s critical for residents to support their local businesses. “The best way to help our Victoria economy is to spend our dollars in Victoria. If we all focus on making local buying decisions, we can recover faster and stronger. We can show our support for our community by rediscovering our hometown and the businesses and activities that people usually travel thousands of kilometres to see first-hand.”
To find out which stores are open, and how you can support your local retailers, visit downtownvictoria.ca.
View more: Downtown Victoria: Your Place To Be