A new website supportingoxford.ca has been established to help local businesses. One thing you can do right now, is purchase a gift card.
OXFORD COUNTY - The local economic impact as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been immediate.
As the situation continues to evolve, many businesses have been forced to close their doors or to change how they operate.
In response, three local organizations came together to create a website encouraging the community to purchase gift cards right now, that can be used at a later date when businesses reopen.
The Social Factory, along with Community Futures Oxford and with help from Tourism Oxford the site supportingoxford.ca went live yesterday with at least 12 local businesses already featured on the site. Local businesses are able to add themselves to the site, and can include hours of operation, delivery times, or any other helpful information for the consumer.
Tourism Oxford had been monitoring the affects of closures and were compiling a list of local businesses that were being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, they have been getting the word out to the community of this new online tool.
Lindsay Wilson from Community Futures Oxford was one of the key players in helping to launch the site, however not being a 'tech guru' herself, she called upon a client of theirs that benefited from one of their grants. Alyssa Humphrey from 'The Social Factory' was then called upon to put thoughts in motion.
Wilson says the reality is that the future for our local economy is uncertain, which is one of the reasons we saw the need for this website.
"We have no idea what the future will hold, but I think what we are really focusing on is what is within our control and what actions we can take today."
Wilson adds that the site is not just for the consumer, but its also a source for local business owners to access information that might be useful to them in the weeks and months to come.
"We just want to make sure that small businesses know that there is someone to reach out to, we aren't promising to have all the answers, but hopefully we can help you through or connect you to a resource."
Early Bird Coffee is one local business that has closed their doors and is now featured on the site. Co-Owner Kate Leatherbarrow says this site is genius.
"The fact that I woke up yesterday and saw that the wheels were in motion to make sure that people know small businesses are trying to operate in the best capacity that they can, it's terrific and I really hope people will utilize this tool."
The mother of 3 says it was heartbreaking for her and co-owner husband Elio Capricci to close their doors on Tuesday, but they know they are being responsible citizens in doing so.
"It's tough, this is our sole income for our family and there is going to be some stressful times ahead. It's just reminding ourselves that when you have these moments of despair, there are still people that want you to succeed and they want to support you, it's a great initiative and I think going forward, visit the site, continue to talk to your neighbours and remember we are in this together."
The pair is offering delivery of their beans Capricci has taken pride in roasting since they opened in December of 2018. Currently Early Bird Coffee has their beans in 12 local retailers that currently brew their coffee, which are now their main customers.
To add your business, or to shop local, click here.