The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on everyone over the past few months, but especially so for Canada’s small businesses.
Many had to close their doors until given the official go-ahead from public health officials and are now working to pick up the pieces in a weakened economy.
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Susie Gay had been worrying about the state of small Canadian businesses back in March when she decided to take what action she could to help.
She and her partner, Bryan, spent the next month creating a company with a singular goal: to help these small businesses make it through the pandemic.
The company, This Bag, creates and ships stylish reusable bags with one clear message: “This bag helped a small business.”
They’ve since expanded to offer shirts with a similar message (just substitute out “bag” for “shirt”) and have recently announced that their efforts, and those of their patrons, have successfully led to the creation of 10 grants that have been offered to small businesses.
“It’s been amazing to see the impact these small grants have had, and the response of the recipients,” Susie stated in an email to Daily Hive.
“So many had us close to tears sharing how this grant would help their business and bring them hope. Their stories are heartwarming and diverse.”
These stories include Vancouver restaurant Balila, which started a program to donate meals to health workers; Toronto’s Sitti Soap, which employs refugee workers; and furniture resource bank, HomeStart Foundation, which furnishes the homes of over 40 families a month.
Still, Susie and Bryan are hoping to help even more businesses.
“We are so thankful to the community getting behind the cause, and especially touched to see businesses supporting other businesses. Almost half of the raised funds came from businesses buying bags, donating, or sponsoring grants,” Susie wrote.
“This makes us hopeful about the collective impact we could have standing together and supporting each other. Perhaps we could help 10 more small businesses? 100 more? 1000?”
The bags and shirts are available for $28 and $42 each, respectively, with the printing done by a local printer using an environmentally friendly water-based process.
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The shirts are 50/50 cotton poly blend while the bags are 100% natural cotton canvas.
Shipping comes to $3.50 for anywhere in Canada, and the company is offering free shipping on orders of three or more bags and two or more shirts.
Other causes supported by This Bag include feeding a child, giving clean water, helping the bees, and educating a girl.