Sherbrooke launches “buy local” campaign

By Gordon Lambie

In a measure aimed at helping the local economy get through the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 crisis, the City of Sherbrooke announced the launch of a new marketing campaign on Monday called “Sherbrooke est tissée serrée” or “Sherbrooke is tight knit.” Working together with various local economic development agencies, the $20,000 campaign of print, online, television and radio advertisements will encourage people in the area to support local businesses by ordering from local restaurants and purchasing products from local stores.
“The situation we are living with right now is not easy for anyone, and our businesses need us now, more than ever,” said Mayor Steve Lussier, noting that the city is home to some 14,000 retail stores, restaurants, and businesses, hundreds of which remain open in some capacity or other. “It is not an easy time for our entrepreneurs, who are living with a great deal of uncertainty right now.”
In order to help support the businesses still in operation and inform the population of their existence, the city has launched a new website,, featuring an interactive map put together by Commerce Sherbrooke. On the map a viewer can see which restaurants and businesses remain open in each borough, along with a list of what services they are offering and information on how to contact them. The page also provides tools for business owners to add their company to the map should they have been overlooked in the initial set-up.
“Every time you choose to invest in businesses from here, it has a positive impact on our community,” said Philippe Cadieux, partnership advisor to the City of Sherbrooke, speaking highly of the work already being done by agencies like Commerce Sherbrooke, the Sherbrooke Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Pro-Gestion Estrie. “No matter the challenge you are facing right now as an entrepreneur, these organizations continue to offer their services in a way that is personalized, adapted to your needs, and accessible,” he said.
Cadieux and Lussier both referred to the tissée serrée campaign as a first step, explaining that the municipal administration is already working on a plan to support businesses more once things get back to normal.
“The problem is that no one knows exactly how long this will last,” the advisor said, acknowledging that some businesses might have to deal with greater challenges as time goes on.
Lussier, meanwhile, took the opportunity to praise the people of Sherbrooke.
“From the start of this crisis, the people of Sherbrooke have for the large part, respected the recommendations of physical isolation put out by the department of public health,” the Mayor said. “In Sherbrooke, even while keeping our distance, we remain tight knit.”
The Mayor did not close the door to the possibility of more direct financial support for businesses later on but said that the city will make decisions based on what is possible and what is being offered by the Provincial and Federal Governments.
Lussier was also asked whether or not the city would enact a state of emergency, like the one put in place by the City of Montreal, given the fact that the city has the highest number of infections in the administrative region with the second highest number in the province.
The answer to that questions was no, for now.
“We are keeping an eye on the situation, but to put it in perspective, we’re talking about 95 cases among 170,000 people,” the mayor said.

Published in the Tuesday, March 31 edition of The Record.

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