Chamber Celebrates Residents Who #Thinklocalfirst
Kootenay Made Co. Gives Thanks To Local Customers Through Holiday Campaign
It’s like Christmas morning came early as the Trail & District Chamber of Commerce excitedly unwraps the #ThinkLocalFirst Shopping Bag Campaign this holiday season.
Twenty stores across the South Kootenay are stocked with branded, reusable fabric bags, up from the 10 that participated during last year’s inaugural campaign. Merchants are ready to celebrate their shoppers by giving out the free bags, designed by VH Sport and adorned with the Chamber’s #ThinkLocalFirst logo as well as that of this year’s sponsor, Pillar Partner Waneta Plaza.
“South Kootenay businesses can market the launch any way they feel is best for them; they choose who gets first dibs on the bags,” explains Executive Director Erika Krest. “And we distributed a personalizable social media marketing tool kit to participating stores to make their job easier.”
“In the past we’ve seen some stores have a minimum purchase threshold or a first-come, first-served philosophy — it’s completely up to them,” Krest adds.
Leanne Ellis, owner of Kootenay Made Co., a shop that curates local artisanal designs and products, is using the campaign as an opportunity to thank her customers.
“I’m super grateful for everyone who has come in and chosen to spend their money in my store, supporting not only me specifically but also the almost 100 Kootenay vendors that we carry. I see this as a giveback opportunity,” she says.
Ellis has dreamed of opening a storefront since she was a child, finally fulfilling her entrepreneurial longing about a year and a half ago when conversations with her best friend, Angela Leonard of Studio 3 Handmade Goods, revealed an opportunity to create a company that put locally-made products like Leonard’s multi-medium contemporary jewelry on a pedestal. Her efforts were recognized this spring when she took home the Emerging Entrepreneur Award at the Chamber’s 2021 Business Excellence Awards.
“Having a seven-days-a-week storefront really works for vendors,” she says. “For those who work weekends or can’t make it out to a market but still want to support local artisans, my store basically acts as a permanent market. And it’s great to be in Waneta Plaza; it’s the best business decision I’ve made!”
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