The District of 100 Mile House plans to launch its own online Shop Local business directory.
The new directory will replace the love100milehouse.com website, which is run by Love Northern BC and is slated to end on Dec. 31, 2024. Northern Development Initiative Trust announced the program has “become redundant” and provided council with four options: Take over the website, create their own Shop Local program, turn it over to another organization, or drop it altogether.
NDIT will no longer pay to market the program, which has included $1,200 annually for marketing and dedicated staff time to build marketing resources.
Joanne Doddridge, director of economic development and planning, told council last week that staff has already cloned the love100milehouse.com website and it only needs a little work and capital investment to get it up and running. The district would also receive a one-time payment of $10,000 from Northern Development to start its own Shop Local program.
“As much as the Love program has been really successful, we were among the first communities to pilot this and most of our profiles are out of date and need to be updated,” Doddridge said, noting the new program would give 100 Mile House “a new online business directory controlled by the District that staff knows how to operate.”
The new directory would be open to all businesses, including independent and non-franchise operations. Doddridge noted that for a single profile, Love Northern BC would pay $350 for a photographer to shoot the one business and $50 for an accompanying article. The business, meanwhile, was charged $100. She said this system would not work for 100 Mile House.
Mayor Maureen Pinkney said while the Love 100 Mile House was popular with the general public and business community, operating the website would be onerous and expensive.
100 Mile House was one of the original six communities to pilot the program, which only has 50 businesses online compared with an all-time high of 75, according to a staff report. There is only “modest” interest in businesses willing to sign up, while it takes staff time to moderate the website and Facebook page.
Coun. Donna Barnett, who is also president of the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce, offered to take on the new project. She suggested the District combine forces with groups who do their own shop local programs such as the Chamber and the 100 Mile Free Press. She suggested holding a meeting to discuss further options.