LOCO Launches New Research on the Impact of Online Shopping on Canadian Retailers

LOCO has just begun a new research project into the impact of online shopping on local business.

Online shopping represents a large and increasing part of the Canadian economy. However, many of the dollars spent leak out of our economy to US Corporations.A 2013 report produced for Vancity reported that two out of every three dollars spent online by Canadians go to US retail websites.

Canada Post and Tenzing recently reported that:

  • The average Canadian currently spends $1210 online annually.
  • In 2014, the value of online shopping in Canada was $22 billion dollars.
  • Online shopping is expected to double between 2014 and 2019, increasing to a value of more than $40 billion dollars.

Please help us complete our research to assess the impact of these trends on local business.

If you own a retail business, please take our business survey. The survey takes approximately 5-10 minutes. Survey closes October 31st, 2015.

If you’re a consumer (and we all are), please take our consumer survey. The survey takes approximately 5-10 minutes. Survey closes October 31st, 2015.

Also, please help spread the word – send the url for this page to friends and business owners. Contact us for more info.

Saul Good Gift Co.




Fill in either of our surveys for a chance to win a gourmet local food gift box from Saul Good Gift Co. worth $300!


Saul Good Gift Co: Generating Local Social Impact through Collaboration

When Saul Brown, a founding member of LOCO BC, started Saul Good Gift Co—a certified B Corp—in 2006, it was with the intention of creating and growing an environmentally sustainable gift basket business. In addition to his commitment to environmentally sustainable business practices, Saul’s business practices are also driven by a commitment to local purchasing (73% of his suppliers are locally owned companies) and developing mutually beneficial relationships with other local businesses and social enterprises—a commitment that has generated a high level of local social and economic impact over the years, particularly for the growing social enterprise sector in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.


Question: What inspired you to start collaborating with social enterprises?

Answer: A series of events and decisions that occurred within the first few years of launching my business got me thinking about the social side of sustainable business. One of my earliest collaborative partnerships with a social enterprise occurred in 2008. It emerged out of a networking event where I met a Rona employee who told me about Tradeworks Custom Products. I started working with the business to locate and procure local, sustainable materials for their products and I helped them grow their business. I also learned a lot about the social side of sustainable businesses through sharing work space—and collaborating—with Toby Barazzuol (Eclipse Awards) on a variety of community initiatives that sought to address both social issues and environmental sustainability concerns through business.

Question: How does collaborating with social enterprises generate local, social impact?

Answer: When we looked at the top 75% of our expenses, we see that 25% of the dollars spent go directly to local social enterprises such as Starworks, Tradeworks Custom Products, and East Van Roasters. However, generating this kind of impact hasn’t happened overnight; it’s been the result of having a clearly defined vision, goals and strategies that have steered decisions at each stage of business growth. It isn’t just about the social impact: these collaborations and partnerships also create value and a competitive advantage for both parties. For example, we have been working with our fulfillment partner, Starworks, to enhance business processes and systems in place that now makes it possible for them to provide “pick and pack”, just-in-time fulfillment requests from clients. ). I collaborate with social enterprise vendors and partners in ways that empower them to access new business opportunities or markets. Saul Good Gift Co also generates social impact through sharing the stories behind the products in the gift baskets. The stories are a “non-preachy” way of raising awareness about social enterprises and social issues.

Question: What advice would you give to other socially responsible business owners who are interested in collaborating with social enterprises?

Answer: First, start with a clear goal and understanding of what the strategy is behind the decision if you want to generate a social impact through cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with social enterprises. Second, you need to be really clear about your company’s culture and values and ask yourself what resonates with employees, customers and other stakeholders. Third, it’s best to start small. Do a little bit, then step and evaluate the process. A key question to ask oneself is, does it create value for both partners?

visit Saul Good Gift Co. at www.itsaulgood.com

What’s Local?

At LOCO our work is centred on the economic impact of local. And as an organization that coordinates a Buy Local campaign, ‘What’s local?‘ is often the first question we’re asked.

We know the greatest local economic value is created by businesses who are locally owned and operated. Based on our research study, the Power of Local Purchasing, we know these businesses re-circulate dollars in our local economy 2.6 times more than their non-locally based counterparts. For every $100 dollars spent with a BC-based business, $46 will stay in our economy (vs $18 for non-local counterparts).

At LOCO we’ve been working on creating a definition of local that centres on maximizing the local economic impact consumers and purchasers can generate. These definitions are at the centre of the BC Buy Local campaign.

When asking ‘what’s local’, follow these guidelines.

Local Owned: 

Local owned businesses are:

  • Private companies (ex. single owner or partnership, employee owned, co-operative or social enterprise/non-profit)
  • Headquartered in BC
  • > 50% of owners residing in B.C.

Local Made*

  • A product that is wholly or largely (>50%) manufactured or processed in B.C.

*Can include products produced without local materials or ingredients. Local made products with local ingredients or materials can add “Local Grown” if applicable.

Local Grown

  • An agricultural product grown in BC (ex. food, plants, fibre, wood)
  • A manufactured product with >50% materials grown in B.C.

Local Champion

Anyone who purchases from Local Owned businesses or buys Local Grown and Local Made products can be a Local Champion. Let your customers know you value them as Local Champions.



Buying Local: more than a nice idea

An interesting opinion piece on the rationale of buy local campaigns appeared in the Globe and Mail last Friday titled ‘Buy Local’: Nice idea, but does it make sense?. The article gives a take on the local economy movement and buy local campaigns, ultimately leading to the conclusion that they can be dangerous to our own global competitiveness.

This opinion piece is a gift. It clearly spotlights the concerns and reservations that many have about ‘buying local’ including questions like: what is local?; what would happen if everyone ‘bought local’?; can I be a local economy advocate and still want to buy products not produced here? If I desire to scale my business to other markets am I still a local business?

These are the questions we at LOCO think and talk about every day. While we agree with the author that ‘local’ needs to be better defined, we don’t agree that focusing on local is hypocritical or takes away from global competitiveness. For us, the goal is to increase the benefit to our local economy by looking at how we can recirculate more dollars to local businesses in the province and within Canada. A small shift in dollars can have large economic impacts. Research shows that a 1% shift in consumer spending towards local businesses can result in 3100 jobs and $94 million in additional wages to the BC economy. This is a huge local economic impact that does not have a proportionate impact in national or global spending. In fact, one could argue that this economic impact strengthens consumer spending to benefit everyone.

This also leads us to consider a bigger question, how can national and international organizations contribute to the communities and economies where they operate? How can they support the communities that contribute to their revenues? How can they support the economic, environmental and social resilience of these communities so those communities can continue to contribute to their revenues over the long term? In our view a focus on local purchasing and increasing the percentage of dollars that they spend in the communities where they operate should be a key focus.

As we consider these questions at LOCO we’ve started working on our definition of local from the perspective of local economic development. We are soliciting feedback and we’d love to hear your thoughts. As a shopper or purchaser what does this model mean to you? As a business owner how does this model apply to how you want to grow your business?  How can we develop this model further? Send us your thoughts, LOCO wants to know!

LOCO Degrees Of Local Business


BC Buy Local Week in the News

Check out all the great coverage of #BuyLocalWeek so far:

Global News: British Columbians Encouraged to Shop Locally During Holidays

News 1130: BC Retailers Band Together for 2nd Annual ‘Buy LocalWeek’

The Tyee: Five Ways to Take the Corporate out of Christmas

Metro News: Buy Local This Holiday Season, Vancouverites

Business in Vancouver: Buy Local Week Steers B.C. Shoppers Away From the Mall

BC Business: Buying Local Beyond Black Friday

Vancouver Observer: Buy Local Shopping Tips for the Holiday Season

Vancouver Is Awesome: Weekly GoodBomb: Buy Local Week 2013

Cowichan Valley Citizen: Shopping Locally Increases The Local Wealth

Whistler Pique: Shopping Local Will Keep Business Strong

This Canada Day – Live Local, Buy Local! Our new video of East-side businesses

LOCO’s  Live Local, Buy Local campaign raises awareness of the benefits of buying local and connects consumers to great local businesses.

We are excited to launch our third video as part of the campaign, featuring Vancouver east-side businesses and LOCO members; SPUD, The Soap Dispensary, Bird on a Wire Creations and GreenWorks Building Supply!



Join LOCO to be part of the campaign, or contact us to learn more about LOCO and our membership benefits. To watch the rest of the videos in this series visit Live, Local, Buy Local. 

Happy Canada Day everyone!

@LOCObc  on twitter.