Cochrane launches campaign to boost business at local shops

The town of Cochrane is one of the first communities in the country to use federal funding to launch a buy local campaign. 

The community, west of Calgary, received just under $60,000 in funding from Ottawa for its “Cochrane Loves Local” initiative, meant to market local shops. The campaign plans to use residents in videos and testimonials to share stories about businesses in the town that will then be shared on social media. 

In June, Ottawa announced $33 million would be given to provincial chambers of commerce to launch shop local initiatives. The money could be used for things like branding, online shopping promotion and marketing materials.

Each chamber could apply for up to $180 per member. Cochrane’s chamber has a membership of 330 businesses. The chamber is running the program in partnership with the town’s tourism agency.

The initiative launched Tuesday, with an event attended by municipal, provincial and federal representatives who mingled with small business owners from the community.

“My businesses are like my family,” Jo-Anne Oucharek, the executive director of the Cochrane Tourism Association, said. 

“To be able to bring some marketing dollars to Cochrane and really support what our local businesses do for the community, that is huge. 

“It’s going to help them reopen, it’s going to help them reignite.”

Cochrane is one of the fastest growing communities in the province and the organizers are hoping to capitalize on that expansion, while shop owners hope it brings more feet through their doors.

“I just want to see everyone get back to succeeding,” Patsy Parker, owner of Patsy’s Place, said. She added the pandemic made businesses more innovative, but they still need that helping hand.  

“I’ve gotten into commercials and videos and silly stuff and we’ve gone to Skip the Dishes and Door Dash and all sorts of avenues I didn’t think I would ever be interested in.”

Alberta is eligible for up to $4.9 million of the federal shop local fund, with the initial round of $1.2 million getting distributed to regional chambers of commerce. The third round of funding is currently being processed through the Alberta Chambers of Commerce. 

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