The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce launched BetterBuySooke.ca, a “buy now, redeem later” gift card solution for the many Sooke businesses that have had to close their doors or reduce their services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using a FREE made-in-Sooke solution, businesses can soon sell online certificates ranging from $5 to $100 (or more).

BetterBuySooke.ca, a Sooke Region Chamber initiative in partnership with Webmax.ca, will offer a secure direct-sales transaction between consumers and the many business enterprises in the Greater Sooke Region. While storefronts may be temporarily closed, Sooke residents (and others) will still be able to buy cards from Sooke businesses, redeemable when the “new normal” is realized and businesses re-open and resume business. This will allow Sooke residents to continue to shop local and support their favourite businesses right now, while giving cash-flow to the many businesses who have had to close their doors.

Karen Mason is President of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce

“When the economy slowed to a near stop in mid-March, many of our local businesses lost all or most of their income,” said Karen Mason, president of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce. “This online gift-card approach will allow some form of commerce to take place.”

Businesses in the greater Sooke region can sign up for FREE between now and April 27th, with continued free access for the remainder of 2020. Businesses joining after April 27th will be required to pay a nominal fee. Except for the fee charged by the processor (Square or Stripe), the entire card sale will go to the business. On signing up, Webmax.ca will work with the vendor to design and finalize their BetterBuySooke.ca offer. Then, let the sales begin!

COVID-19 has thrown a fast and furious curveball at the world. In closing their doors, Sooke business owners have significantly contributed to the flattening of the COVID-19 curve. The Chamber believes this contribution cannot go unrecognized. Now more than ever, local businesses need the community to buy local, so they can survive… and thrive!

“We are stronger when we work collaboratively and give each other a hand up,” said Mason. “Sooke is a unique town, filled with people who care deeply. This crisis has brought about tremendous uncertainty, but it also has highlighted our ability to pull together as a community. BetterBuySooke.ca will give some economic stimulation to local businesses, but more importantly, it will show our businesses that they are supported by Sooke residents. Together, we can get through this crisis and embrace whatever the new normal will look like … when it gets here.”

To sign up, interested businesses from East Sooke through Sooke to Jordan River and beyond need to visit BetterBuySooke.ca and complete the initial application process. Webmax will then be in touch with the vendor to complete the process. Within 48 hours, your online gift-cards will be ready for purchase on BetterBuySooke.ca.

Chambers throughout Canada and the world are going to play a critical role in rebuilding the economy once the world comes out from the devastation wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chambers have the reach, the reputation, and the existing community-to-international networks that will help economies rebound into the post-COVID-19 world that awaits. Sooke’s Chamber will be among that number.

Britt Santowski is Executive Director of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce