24 December 2023

'Businesses are doing it tough': Campaign to get people to spend locally makes return

| Claire Sams
Start the conversation
A woman holding a gift card next to a sign for a store

Dozens of businesses on the South Coast have joined a relaunched program to encourage people to shop locally. Photo: Love the Bay BB/Facebook.

For visitors to Batemans Bay and locals alike, a campaign is calling on people to keep their money in the community.

Gift cards are available in the Love the Bay campaign, which people can use at local businesses.

Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber President David Maclachlan said the campaign was first created to support regional businesses in 2019 and coincided with the aftermath of the Black Summer bushfires.

“The bushfire crisis has motivated locals and non-locals alike to love the Bay even more than ever, but for us here in the Bay, to remain strong, we need everyone to support our businesses and this will keep local jobs,” he said.

Businesses (and shoppers) can now access the cards, which can only be used within the 2536 postcode.

Mr Maclachlan said the gift cards would be an easy way to support the Batemans Bay business community.

“Our small businesses are hurting and trying to get back on their feet – embracing the Love the Bay gift card is a very practical and wonderful way you can show Bay businesses that you care,” he said.

“Every time money is spent in a small town some of that money goes back into staff pay which is then often spent in town.

“We know that $100 spent locally has a $180 impact on the local economy.”

The cards are valid for three years and can be purchased at specific local businesses.

Between $10 and $1000 can be loaded onto each card, which can be spent at one or more participating stores, but cannot be topped up.

READ ALSO Vandals try to destroy Yass Christmas display but fail to beat volunteers’ spirit

For the chamber’s treasurer, Charles Stuart, the relaunch of the campaign this month (December) came at a time when many businesses were struggling.

“People are doing it tough; the economy’s tight – and it’s the same for businesses,” he said.

“They’re looking forward to a good holiday season, because they rely on that period – which is December through to Easter – to support themselves for the rest of the year.

“We brought the cards back to try and give them a boost.”

The original campaign was a partnership between the chamber, Transport for NSW and construction company John Holland, but the chamber decided to bring it back in 2023.

“Post-COVID and flooding rains and droughts and whatnot, businesses are doing it tough again – particularly with the economic crisis that we are living through,” he said.

“I’d say there’s been more shop closures than usual, recently.

“We decided to rejuvenate the Love the Bay campaign and the gift cards.”

READ ALSO Queanbeyan boxer Monique Suraci is off to the Paris Olympics after winning her qualifying bout in the Solomon Islands

Since the relaunch, Mr Stuart said businesses both new and old to the campaign were getting involved, with around 147 currently on board.

“It’s the more the merrier,” he said.

“There’s absolutely no cost to the businesses, but they need to sign up so they can accept the Love the Bay card at their store.

“Each terminal has to be activated and it has to be in our postcode area – we won’t activate a terminal elsewhere.”

Mr Stuart said a goal of the chamber was also to get people into physical stores.

“We’re urging people to shop locally rather than online, because online shopping really doesn’t help,” he said.

“It only helps the big fellas – it doesn’t help the locals.”

Mr Stuart said he hoped the campaign would bring the Batemans Bay community closer.

“We want our local inhabitants to have pride in their community,” he said.

Further information on purchasing a Love the Bay gift card and the businesses involved can be found online.

Start the conversation

Daily Digest

Do you like to know what’s happening around your region? Every day the About Regional team packages up our most popular stories and sends them straight to your inbox for free. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.