By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
Retailers who participated in the initiative to encourage Bahamians to shop at home over Christmas say the returns exceeded expectations, ShopLocal's director told Tribune Business.
Alannah van Onselen said her company, Bahamas HandPrint, had a “good Christmas" with early indications from other businesses involved suggesting ShopLocal went “better than expected" even though everything is relative due to the economic devastation inflicted by COVID-19.
Suggesting that ShopLocal has given local businesses the boost they needed coming out of COVID-19 restrictions, she said: “I think people definitely got the message of what [shopping at home] does to the economy and how it helps, how it's sort of your way of giving back to the community.”
Ms Van Onselen said there were even hopes that ShopLocal can be sustained for the rest of 2021, adding that she has no intention of stopping the campaign now. She said: “The reality is that it has to be sustained into next year, because so many companies have had a terrible 2020.
"Christmas sort of puts a little bit of oxygen into the system. But the reality is this whole mindset of Bahamians does need to change, and they need to know that when you can shop at home you should shop at home.”
Acknowledging that no ShopLocal participants were “thriving” yet, Ms Van Onselen said: “I think that there is an aspect of people who weren't able to travel and they were home, or they did shop at home and they couldn’t go away to travel to Miami for three days and come back. I think that that was a definite issue.
“But the whole sort of heart and essence of the ShopLocal movement is really to educate Bahamians on reasons why it's important to shop at home. So it's an ongoing movement and I think it was a strong campaign. I think we did a good job. I started to see the message out there. Influencers were doing a good job on social media.”