The pandemic's effects on small businesses didn't hit me until I decided to take a walk around the normally bustling part of my hometown of Cobourg, Ontario. Earlier in the year, these businesses were full of customers and full of life. Businesses now closed shop; some could weather the storm, but others closed permanently. At that moment, I realized how severe the effects of the pandemic were and how hard businesses were being hit.
It was at that point that I decided I wanted to support local businesses. Once I returned home, I began searching for local businesses that provided the products I needed. I needed a sweater, a keyboard for my laptop, and a set of screwdrivers. In total, it took me about two and a half hours to find everything I needed. I first had to find local stores that had the items I wanted; then, I had to go to three different websites to complete the checkout process. If I had shopped at a big box store, I could have purchased everything I needed within thirty minutes.
This was when the idea behind OptLocal started to take shape. OptLocal offers customers an all-in-one shopping platform where they can discover and shop from local businesses in a single transaction.
It's time to unite and support small businesses, which make up the backbone of communities across the country. Let's make local shopping the new norm!