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This Website Lists Over 5K Canadian Businesses So You Can Take A Break From Big-Box Stores

Thousands of local shops from over 30 cities! đź’¸

COVID-19 has threatened local businesses in Canada like never before, but some Canadians are stepping up to make it easier than ever to take a break from big-box stores and massive online retailers.

Vancouverite Carson Vince started Better Be Local, a website that raises awareness of just how many local shops there are all around the country that need support from Canadians.

Vince works on the site while working his 50-hours-a-week full-time job, receiving some money from a "featured" page on the site but without any external funding to run Better Be Local.

Emmanuela Okon is a style blogger, content creator and the founder of E's Element, an online athleisure and jewelry store based out of Mississauga, Ontario. When Vince reached out to Okon to inquire about listing her site on Better Be Local, it was an offer she gladly accepted.

"I thought it was a really good idea to like put E's Element there, so that it makes it easier for people to find small businesses in their respective cities," she told Narcity.

Okon said she noticed a big uptick in traffic due to the listing, and Vince said he's received dozens of grateful messages from small business owners listed on his site.

"If you can combine a passion or a business endeavour with something that can do good for others, that's a win-win for everyone," Vince said.

Supporting small businesses in Canada

Better Be Local isn't the first directory of its kind, but Vince told Narcity that his website is the largest in the country, with 5,500 businesses from 31 cities listed. He said he doesn't mind that there are other online business directories since they're all helping the same cause.

"I don't want to just call them competition," Vince said. "It should all be to benefit local businesses and put the spotlight on them."

Vince explained that he updates the website every day, adding more and more shops and cities to an ever-expanding list of entrepreneurs and shop owners making their way in Canada.

For Okon, the website helps in a small way to make sure Canadians continue to support small businesses even after the pandemic.

"A lot of investment goes into a small business, so it's super important that people acknowledge small businesses," she said. "Because small businesses are really making a huge impact in the economy."