Cochrane Alberta Shop Local Program Showcases Innovation

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World Famous Mackay's Ice Cream in Cochrane Alberta
World Famous Mackay's Ice Cream in Cochrane Alberta

COCHRANE Alberta – COVID-19 Recovery – Cochrane Alberta is a “bedroom community” to the west of the City of Calgary.

Over the past thirty years, Cochrane has grown from a quiet prairie village to a thriving town. From the MacKay’s Ice Cream shop on the main drag, where the line-up can stretch down the street, to today, it is a small town that is growing places.

Over the years, Cochrane has shifted and grown. Innovative thinking has been one of the key cornerstones of the community’s growth and success.

As Canada continues shifting to COVID-19 recovery, the Cochrane and District Chamber of Commerce (CDCC) is one of the first in the country to launch a shop local program using federal shop local funding.

The program takes a new approach to recognizing the importance of supporting local businesses by inviting locals to share their experiences via videos and testimonials as part of the Cochrane Loves Local campaign.

“This campaign is launching at an opportune time to support businesses in reopening and acknowledge the important role they play in our local economy and the community,” says CDCC Executive Director Kelly Carson. “We know Cochrane has really adopted a ‘shop local mentality’ and we’re excited to provide a platform for people to share stories about what that means to them.”

CDCC has partnered with the Cochrane Tourism Association (CTA) on this initiative and they are collectively asking people to provide videos or written testimonials with “Love Local Stories.” These will be shared online and through social media. All stories are welcome, and may include things like:

  • Why is it important to shop locally?
  • What does loving local mean to you?
  • What experience have you had with a local business that you want to share?
  • What local business would you like to highlight?

“The Cochrane Tourism Association represents an important segment of local businesses, primarily: tourism operators, restaurants and unique retailers. Partnering on this campaign was very aligned for us as we share the Chamber’s goal of supporting local business growth,” says Jo-Anne Oucharek, CTA Executive Director.

This campaign is made possible by federal shop local funding distributed to Chambers of Commerce through the Ministry of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade. Each Chamber was able to submit a request for funding of $180/member. With 330 business members at the start of 2021, CDCC received $59,400.

Banff-Airdrie Member of Parliament Blake Richards says, “I’m thrilled to support the Cochrane Loves Local campaign. This year, efforts to highlight and support local businesses are more important than ever. Since March 2020, local businesses in Cochrane have faced momentous challenges and roadblocks, so it is vital they receive community support, especially now that life is getting back to normal.

This initiative has my full support, and I am personally looking forward to visiting some of my favourite local businesses in Cochrane – I encourage everyone else to do the same!”

The campaign has also received support from MLA Peter Guthrie: “As a former small business owner myself, I appreciate the value and importance of supporting local. Cochrane is home to some of the most talented entrepreneurs and business owners and I am grateful to the Cochrane and District Chamber of Commerce for putting a spotlight on them through this campaign.”

Mayor Jeff Genung also enthusiastically supports the program. “On behalf of Cochrane Town Council, we thank the Cochrane and District Chamber of Commerce and their partners for championing the “Cochrane Loves Local” campaign. This initiative will be a great way to promote our fantastic local businesses, help drive the economy and aid small businesses in their road to recovery following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our community has already done such a great job in showing their support for our local entrepreneurs and we are delighted to have this additional campaign to bring us together and continue building and strengthening our local economy.”

The funding for the federal shop local grant was distributed through the Alberta Chambers of Commerce.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, community chambers have truly been a lifeline for businesses,” says Ken Kobly, Alberta Chambers of Commerce President and CEO. “As we transition to reopening and recovery, we still have a long road ahead to rebuild our economy. This federal funding will help chambers do what we do best: support local job creators.”

A third round of funding applications is currently being processed.

The Cochrane Loves Local campaign is an initiative by the Cochrane and District Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Cochrane Tourism Association and supported by the Town of Cochrane Business Development. All campaign information can be found at www.cochraneloveslocal.com.