PORT HAWKESBURY: The Strait Area Chamber of Commerce is encouraging everyone to support local businesses through its “Step Up for Local” campaign, running from now until Dec. 20.

The campaign is intended to drive shop local awareness and increase local spending, the chamber said, noting it is partnering with the Guysborough Board of Trade, the St. Peter’s Economic Development Organization (SPEDO), and the Baddeck and Area Business and Tourism Association (BABTA), among others, on the initiative.

The chamber said the positive effects of shopping local multiply and reach beyond what may be considered at the time of purchase. Less money leaves local communities and the money that stays, cycles, providing tax dollars that fund our health care, education, and infrastructure, they said. The chamber noted that small businesses create jobs, employing 70 per cent of the workforce and are more than 2.5 times likely to support local initiatives and non-profits.

The “Step Up for Local” brand encourages everyone to shop, eat, give, and celebrate local and has been adopted by multiple chambers of commerce across Nova Scotia, the chamber said.

“We chose to work with this brand because the concept resonated with us the most,” says Misty MacDonald, Executive Director of the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce. “After this long period of recession, it is time for all of us to step up and do our part to support our local businesses. One of the best ways to do this is to be very intentional when deciding where to spend our dollars.”

The Strait Area Chamber said it will be using Shop Local funding received through the federal government’s investment of up to nearly $2.7 million across Atlantic Canada. Locally, the chamber said it will use the funds to increase awareness across multiple media platforms, develop community-based video assets, and to provide incentives to residents to step up and support local businesses.

“As we approach the upcoming holiday season, it is an important reminder for everyone to support our local area businesses,” Dean Hart, President of the Strait Area Chamber’s Board of Directors noted. “However, we also want to ensure that the impact of the message extends beyond this and that we continue to support our local economy year-round.”

For more information on upcoming Chamber activities, visit www.straitareachamber.ca, follow them on social media, contact the Strait Area Chamber office at 902-625-1588, or email: info@straitareachamber.ca.