Shop local campaign comes to town

Garrett Barry, Centretown News
Aziz & Company Manager Sheena Zain chats with a frequent customer.
People around the city may have noticed bright yellow window clings and stickers on shop windows with the words “Shop the Neighbourhood” written in black cursive lettering. It’s all to serve as a reminder for Ottawa residents to shop local on Nov. 29.

Shop the Neighbourhood is a program created by Yellow Media Ltd. to serve not only as a buffer between two major North American shopping events – Black Friday and Cyber Monday – but also to encourage Canadians nationwide to take advantage of exclusive deals at their participating local stores. 

The initiative is meant to raise awareness of the benefits of shopping within a person’s own community and to support local businesses. 

Following its successful launch in Toronto last November, the program has now expanded to include Ottawa, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. With the help of social media and the hashtag #shopthehood to promote the event, residents can keep up to date with the latest offers available in their neighbourhood. 

“I think Shop the Neighbourhood is a wonderful way to promote the oldest and most sustainable way to shop, which is with your neighbours,” says Sheena Zain, store manager of Aziz & Company. 

Aziz & Company, a local boutique at Bank Street and Gilmour, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Zain says it’s all thanks to the residents of Centretown, who continuously make the decision to shop local and support small businesses.

Stan Wise, owner of Rings Etc. Jewellers, agrees: “With costs of maintaining the shop and staff increasing, I hope the event increases our sales so we can survive longer. But I also hope they come out to see us so we can show them that not only can we provide nice merchandise, but that we can offer a lot of great deals, which is very important because you want to get your money’s worth.” 

Wise and his wife, Marit, have been operating Rings Etc. since it opened in 1978. Their business produces, repairs and sells both new and second-hand jewelry and also purchases gold. Their three-storey store has grown over the course of 36 years and currently employs 12 staff members. 

“Everybody always says the cliché that small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and you know what? It’s true,” says Zain. 

Shop the Neighbourhood states on their website that local commerce generates jobs, keeps money close to home and supports a neighbourhood’s growth. 

Supporting local businesses is vital to communities, particularly Centretown, says Somerset Ward councillor-elect Catherine McKenney. She believes initiatives such as “Shop the Neighbourhood” are a fun way to introduce residents to businesses just a few steps away from their homes.
“There are often hidden gems that people don’t know about until they get out there,” says McKenney. “You might go to a bigger store to get a certain product only to realize that they’re readily available in your neighbourhood – it was right there all along and sometimes for a better price too. That’s the beauty of the local businesses available in our community.”