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Whangarei District Love It Local, Whangarei Businesses Need Your Support

Whangarei’s local business community has come together with Whangarei District Council, Northland Chamber of Commerce and Northland Inc to develop Whangārei District Love It Local, a campaign to support local businesses and reconnect our communities with their local services and retailers.

The Whangārei District Love It Local campaign was shaped by the needs of local business owners through What’s Next Whangārei, a private business-to-business Facebook group. Hundreds of business owners within the group identified a need for more help in the effort to restart businesses, as they recover from the social and economic effects of COVID-19.

Jess Barnes, creator of the What’s Next Whangārei group, has worked alongside Whangarei District Council, Northland Chamber of Commerce and Northland Inc to launch the ‘Whangārei District Love It Local’ campaign.

‘I created the What’s Next Whangārei Facebook group because it was clear that many friends and contacts in business were struggling, just as I was, with the impacts of COVID-19. We needed a place to connect with others in the same position, to share business strategies, news and resources. It’s fantastic that our group has helped bring the Love It Local campaign to life. Our business community needs all the help it can get right now, so I’m proud to be supporting the Love It Local campaign, and I urge local businesses and communities to get on board.’

Tim Robinson, President of NorthChamber, has been working alongside Jess to help bring together the right people and organisations to collectively find some solutions to the challenges that the local business community has suddenly faced.

‘When Jess and I first started chatting about what small businesses were asking for, it became obvious that no one organisation or individual could provide the answers. What was really exciting was how quickly everyone got on board to help, and quickly found ways to create some content and communication tools that delivered what was being asked for. We’re super excited about what we can achieve in the next phase.”

The first stage of the Love it Local campaign involved the creation of the Whangārei District Love It Local Facebook group, which launched 6 May. This group offers an online platform where Whangārei businesses can connect with consumers, supported by the well-known and loved Whangārei District Love It Here! brand. With over 18,000 followers, the Love it Here Facebook page will give the Love It Local group more online exposure.

Tania Robson, District Development Coordinator at Whangarei District Council, believes the Love It Local campaign is a perfect match for the Love It Here brand.

‘Love It Here is a community-owned brand, which makes it an ideal parent page for the Love It Local group, which is community-led. The idea is for our local business community to use this group as a connecting point, to reach out to the community with business updates and posts directed at local consumers. Local consumers can also post their questions to this group, whether they’re seeking local services or local products, opening times or delivery areas.’

Whangārei businesses are invited to join the group and post about their businesses and what they offer, enabling local communities to support local businesses.

Facebook frames, for use on Facebook profile pictures, have been developed as part of the campaign. This gives people the opportunity to unite and show their support for local businesses. While this initial campaign has been developed in response to COVID-19, it is a message that has a life far beyond the next few weeks.

Sheryl Mai, Mayor of Whangārei, is a strong supporter of the Love it Local campaign.

‘We all need to make the choice to support Whangārei businesses, whether that’s purchasing from them online, in-store (when we can), using local services or supporting our cafes and restaurants. Our local tradies, retailers, services, artists, and activities are calling for help – if you Love It Here, then please, Love It Local.’

Find and join the online community at Facebook/WhangareiDistrictLoveItLocal

The campaign is supported by the Whangarei District Council, Northland Inc, NorthChamber, Ministry of Social Development.

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