The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce has launched a local initiative to help businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. (Pixabay)

Business applicants pour in to Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce’s shop local initiative offers residents a the opportunity to shop local and support Sooke business owners

  • Apr. 23, 2020 3:00 p.m.

Many Sooke businesses have jumped on board with a new online shopping initiative, inspiring residents to support the local economy.

The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce first launched the “buy now, redeem later” online gift card campaign, called, about two weeks ago.

The campaign aims to support the many Sooke businesses that have closed their doors or reduce their services because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been totally remarkable so far, we’ve had about 50 respondents in the first week and a half,” Britt Santowski, executive director of the chamber of commerce, said.

So far, 39 businesses have a presence on the site and an additional 20 applicants are still being processed and set up.

The chamber has partnered with for the project, who works with the vendor upon signing up to design and finalize their coupon.

“The whole idea behind this is that it’s like an online gift card shopping mall,” Santowski said. “Each business represented drives traffic to the site, which in turn will expose all the other businesses signed up, just like walking through a regular mall.”

RELATED: Sooke Chamber of Commerce’s shop local initiative to help small business and community

Santowski said the project has been “travelling at the speed of light,” as the chamber coordinates with Webmax to get all applicants up and running on the site.

“Our primary focus is very short term. We want to get money into the pockets of business owners so they can survive until it’s possible to re-open their doors,” Santowski said.

Businesses joining pay a nominal fee.

“Instead of buying from somewhere like Amazon and lining the pocket of one billionaire, lets support infrastructure, our local businesses, and keep our spending dollars here,” Santowski said.

“This is a new reality we are walking into, and entrepreneurs should be preparing for that – finding other ways of doing business. The chamber is providing them with a tool to try to explore that.”

To sign up, interested businesses from East Sooke to Jordan River can go online to and complete the application process.

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