Choose Local, Choose Newmarket: Innovating and Creating to Support Businesses
In the fall of 2020, Newmarket Economic Development and Communications staff began to consider the role that the local municipality should play in encouraging residents to “shop local” given the significant impacts of the pandemic on local businesses. The Town of Newmarket staff and Council decided that they wanted to play a central role and the “Choose Local” campaign was born! The goal of the campaign was to highlight the incredible local options that exist in Newmarket for holiday shopping and to drive residents to learn more about the businesses that serve them. To do this, the Town’s GIS team developed a map based Choose Local directory where businesses could claim their listings, add holiday offerings, search terms and photos to let Newmarket residents know what they had available. The directory has become incredibly popular and is the foundation of the campaign with all material linking back to this page in an effort to centre the businesses at it’s core.
In its inaugural year was primarily a social media contest and Choose Local directory. The initial campaign had 100 participating businesses and 341 #chooselocal entries along with 10 000 web views and many incredible comments from businesses about how the Choose Local campaign “saved us” during the pandemic.
In 2021, the Town of Newmarket and the Newmarket Chamber of Commerce collaborated to grow the campaign even bigger! Businesses had experienced another year of restrictions and closures and the Town and Chamber wanted to launch a campaign that would build on the momentum from the previous year and really engage the public to get involved. In addition to the popular Choose Local contest being expanded in 2021, the campaign also included: Choose Local long-sleeve t-shirts, tote bags, window decals for store fronts, a Choose Local magazine, an extensive social media video campaign and a Choose Local directory. The Town’s goal was to have 500 entries, 150 claimed listings on the Choose Local site and $100 of spending per contest entry.
As part of the campaign, the Town and Chamber put together the following tactics/swag:
As a result, in 2021, the Choose Local contest saw:
The campaign was a resounding success and businesses provided excellent feedback sharing their excitement and hope for the next year’s campaign. Overall the greatest challenges were in reaching out to businesses and ensuring they had everything they needed to participate at a very busy time of year. The key to the success was a strong partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, strong relationships developed with small businesses during the pandemic through the Business Assistance Concierge program and an incredible staff team across the Town willing to pull together to support local!