At the DVBA we are focused on supporting our members during this pandemic.  We have spoken to many of you over the last few weeks and understand the challenges, concerns, and fears you are facing.

Uncertainty is one of the most troubling elements of this crisis.

We continue to advocate for more direct supports, not loans, for our businesses. We are diligently communicating that more debt alone is not sufficient. We are learning about new federal supports for businesses. One is in the form of commercial rent relief for April, May, and June. This is good news for our community and we are watching closely for details.

There are also new provincial announcements of property tax deferrals and reductions. This was another area of advocacy focus for our organization. These deferrals and reductions will help alleviate pressures for commercial landlords and tenants in the near-term.

DVBA marketing efforts are focused on informing the public about how they can support downtown businesses and on reminding the public that their favourite businesses need help now so that they can survive until recovery. We are using social media, contesting, paid TV, video, and print media to encourage our audiences to shop locally, buy gift cards, order meals, and otherwise support the business community.  We are also posting positive news stories about our members who are stepping up to help in this time of crisis through our Local Legends campaign and we are sharing business announcements of new online platforms, contesting, and other updates.

We are a strong community. We are all in this together, and together we will get through this.

Jeff Bray
Executive Director


Watch a Victoria Buzz interview with Jeff Bray on the importance of supporting local businesses.

 

Resources & Supports

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We have been working with the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce and the City of Victoria to ensure there is a regularly updated website containing business-related information on federal, provincial, and municipal programs pertaining to COVID-19.

Visit the page here: https://www.victoria.ca/EN/main/business/covid-19-business-resources.html


As of April 16th, a new B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service will serve as a single point of contact for businesses throughout the province looking for information on resources available during the COVID-19 pandemic.  It will be operated by Small Business BC and will provide individualized support in multiple languages.  The hours of operation are 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday, and 10 am to 4 pm on Saturdays.  You can find information on their website, as well as through online chat on site, by calling 1-833-254-4357 (HELP) to speak with one of their advisors, or by emailing covid@smallbusinessbc.ca.


Rather than duplicate lists which exist elsewhere, we are urging all downtown businesses who are remaining open in any capacity to update their Google information and make sure they are listed on the Times Colonist What’s Open list here: https://www.timescolonist.com/what-s-open


Chamber of Commerce Job Board (for workers able to fill a need or employers in need of temporary employees)

 

DVBA member newsletters

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COVID-19 and the DVBA:

We are working to support our members, the businesses of Downtown Victoria, during these challenging times.  Our main message to the larger community is to check in with their favourite businesses virtually to learn how they can best support them.  We urge businesses to take a minute to update your information online: on all social media accounts, on your business website, and your Google Business listing; communicate the changes you would like customers to understand.

Additionally, tag us in your post so we can help share your messages/updates:

  • Instagram: @downtownvictoriabc
  • Facebook: @downtownvictoria

Our main means of reaching out to businesses has been our Business Buzz e-newsletter.  However, we want to make sure every downtown business has access, even if we don’t have your current email address.  Links to newsletters starting March 13, 2020 are below.

If you would like to receive these newsletters by email, please contact alison@downtownvictoria.ca to verify your email address.

Business Advocacy

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Volunteer Marketing & Tech Support

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#YYJLocalsforLocals – Free marketing and web support for your business:

A group of 70+ tech and marketing volunteers have joined together to offer pro-bono support for small businesses in Victoria – helping retail businesses digitally transform to retain revenue in the face of social distancing.  YYJLocalsforLocals.com offers services that any small business in the area can request through the website.

These services include:

  • Help designing merch to drive sales
  • Building a single page website (landing page)
  • Write a message about how your business is handling COVID-19
  • Email design to send to your customers
  • Social media post or ad copy & design
  • Help setting up gift card sales on your website
  • Marketing help to promote your delivery service
  • Help setting up a subscription box service