The devastating floods in Alberta may have happened three months ago, but many small businesses are still feeling the effects of the disaster. In Calgary, ten neighbourhoods along the Bow and Elbow rivers were hit especially hard when the waters rose. The grassroots initiative YYC Is Open offers Calgarians an opportunity to pitch in and support the small businesses that make these neighbourhoods unique.
Launched shortly after the floods, YYC Is Open was developed by The Calgary Business Recovery Task Force alongside various volunteer groups. The goal of the campaign is simple: support flood affected businesses. If you’re going out for dinner on Friday night, choose a small restaurant in a flood affected area. If you need to shop, visit a store in Kensington or Inglewood instead of hitting the mall. Use your dollars to support those who have lost so much.
It’s a beautiful concept and it has been embraced by all Calgarians. There’s a Facebook page and a Twitter account where people can share which businesses they have supported and encourage others to do the same. Just do one search of the hashtag #yycisopen on Twitter and you will find story after story of Calgarians helping each other out. There’s even a photo contest – submit a photo of yourself making a purchase in an affected area for a chance to win a weekly prize.
When I moved to Calgary four years ago I arrived feeling daunted by how big and sprawling the city seemed. But my time here (especially the time during and after the flood) has shown me that Calgary isn’t daunting. Calgary is a close-knit community of people who care about each other. YYC Is Open is just another example of that.
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Krista Wiebe is a freelance writer and editor based in Calgary. She is the Alberta Editor for The Spectator Tribune. Follow her on Twitter: @KristaWiebe
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