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New chamber initiative encourages Cochranites to share their local shopping experiences

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Residents and visitors are invited to share their experiences shopping at their favourite local spots in a new campaign.

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The ‘Cochrane Loves Local’ initiative, led by the Cochrane & District Chamber of Commerce and Cochrane Tourism, encourages the online sharing of local shopping experiences in exchange for prizes.

“We’re pretty proud in Cochrane that we’re one of the first chambers that’s stepping up to make this announcement of this program,” said chamber president Ozzie Sawicki.

“It’s a marketing campaign. The campaign is really to focus the interest on our local businesses, and it’s designed to create a platform so that it’s not just about ‘go and shop local,’ we worked through that before, now it’s engaging people to create opportunities to talk about why it’s important to shop local, who the local businesses are that you really found amazing in your paths.”

Organizers are encouraging shoppers to take a short selfie video ‘raving about your favourite local hot spots or businesses’. Shoppers can upload those videos to CochraneLovesLocal.com, after which it will be shared on the campaign’s Facebook and Instagram and they’ll be entered into the monthly prize draws.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea, I think it’s a great idea,” said local MP Blake Richards.

“Our business people in the community are the people who step up and support all the causes in the community. Whether it’s kids’ sports teams, whether it’s charitable initiatives, whatever it is, all of those things only happen because of the support of our local business donors and so when they need our support, like now, we need to be there to make sure we give them our support so we can keep all of those things going in the community.”

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Shoppers are also encouraged to use the hashtag #CochraneLovesLocal when out and about town to promote their favourite businesses (many will be shared on the campaign’s social media).

“Small business owners around you, many of them, they are all-in. Their financial future is at risk, and that comes with a lot of stress,” noted local MLA Peter Guthrie.

“The Cochrane Loves Local campaign presents a tremendous opportunity for us to support those business owners who have been there for all of us, for our families, for our kids along the way.”

The program is funded through the federal government’s ‘Shop Local’ country-wide grant program announced in June. Chambers of commerce can apply for $180 per member intended for the branding and marketing of those local businesses, with Cochrane receiving just under $60,000.

“I think it speaks volumes to have all three levels of government supporting this great initiative today,” said mayor Jeff Genung.

“It’s people like [small business owners] working hard throughout this pandemic that has gotten us through to the other side. It has not been easy, it’s been a struggle, a lot of people had to lean on a lot of other people and here we are.”

“When you’re supporting a small business, you are, in fact, investing in your community.”

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