By GILLIAN SLADE on December 8, 2020.
You can now support a wide range of local businesses by shopping online in one easy location.
The new online platform, ShopYXH, went live Monday, featuring 36 businesses with 1,796 products – and more is on the way.
“It’s a one-stop shop to buy local,” said Kelli Ireland, a marketing specialist with Invest Medicine Hat.
Lisa Kowalchuk, executive director of the Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce, said it takes the concept of “local” to a whole new level. It is no longer only area residents who have access to the range of products here. People from across the whole country will now be able to see what is available in Medicine Hat and easily shop online to access them.
In the last few months APEX Alberta, Community Futures Entre-Corp, Invest Medicine Hat and the local chamber have been working on launching this opportunity. It was made possible by a $200,000 grant from the Rural Opportunities Fund through Community Futures Entre-Corp.
Mayor Ted Clugston called it an “exciting day” and said that shopping local is an expression of support for businesses. Many of them have for so long done what they could for local charities and other community initiatives and now it is time for all of us to support them, he says.
Before you make a decision to buy items at other locations, “see if you can’t find it at ShopYXH,” said Clugston.
Even businesses who do not have a website of their own can use ShopYXH.
“Having an online store is a great way to future proof our independent businesses,” said Sean Blewett, general manager of Community Futures Entre-Corp.
By following a few simple steps a small business – even run out of a home – can be featured on ShopYXH. Businesses not yet featured on the site can respond and get started from the website or send an email for additional information or assistance.
ShopYXH offers consumers the option of searching by product, location or business. Talks are already taking place regarding unique ways to facilitate delivery, too. This has the potential to provide additional employment for drivers to do local deliveries.
Kowalchuk said ShopYXH also allows shoppers to browse and purchase at any time of day or night, even when those stores are not open. Businesses selling a service rather than a product can also make gift cards available at ShopYXH.
Statistics Canada reports that online sales in general increased by 110 per cent from May 2019 to May 2020.