23 June 2020 22:31
SYDNEY, N.S. As local businesses struggle financially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cape Breton credit unions are doing their part to support them during this difficult time. All Cape Breton branches are participating in Atlantic Credit Unions' new initiative known as #Loyal2LocalChallenge, which is designed to start a conversation about the value of local businesses and the importance of buying local. Carol Ripley, chief executive officer of the Sydney Credit Union, believes the program will be a positive outcome for businesses in the Cape Breton area. "I think supporting local business is critical," said Ripley. "Credit unions are always known for supporting the local community, we continuously encourage our staff to support local." The two-week initiative began on June 15 and will run until June 28.
Each employee has received at least $25 from Atlantic Credit Unions for the purpose of spending the money at a local business. Some credit unions, like Sydney Credit Union and East Coast Credit Union, have matched the amount and have given $50 to each employee for the cause. "The response has been fabulous and we're only a week into it," said Ripley. "We know that COVID-19 has been really hard on small businesses and this is a way we can help support them in this difficult time." The Sydney Credit Union has three locations including branches in Sydney, Sydney River and Whitney Pier. In total, 50 people are currently working at the locations. As part of the initiative, employees are asked to post their local purchase on social media and use the hashtag #Loyal2LocalChallenge, while promoting the local business of their choice. "It's an opportunity to advertise for the businesses we're supporting," said Ripley. "It also lets local residents know of a business they may not have known about before or somebody who provides a service they weren't aware of." In total, there are 48 credit union branches in Atlantic Canada including 24 in Nova Scotia, nine in New Brunswick, eight in Newfoundland and Labrador, and seven in Prince Edward Island. As of Dec. 31, 2019, credit union membership in Atlantic Canada stood at 302,172. The #Loyal2LocalChallenge is projected to inject more than $70,000 into the regional economy over the two-week period. "We are proud to participate in an initiative that will make a positive impact and help local businesses in our communities," said Ken Shea, president and CEO of East Coast Credit Union, in a news release. "This is what credit unions are all about, coming together and supporting our communities during these difficult times." East Coast Credit Union has more than 42,100 members from Cape Breton to Halifax. Ripley is encouraging and challenging individuals and businesses to also take part in supporting local. "If they're in a position to do it, we're encouraging and challenging them to do the same thing with their staff," said Ripley. "Hopefully, this will snowball and we'll see a real wave of support for local businesses and hopefully it will continue and won't be a one-time thing." RELATED: