By Korie Marshall

McBride is one of nine new communities that will be taking part this year in Small Town Love, a buy-local campaign that celebrates northern BC’s unique independent businesses, thanks to help from Northern Development Initiative Trust.

Small Town Love was initially launched in Quesnel by Amy Quarry, and the program was piloted in six communities last year, including Valemount. NDIT says the program has been a huge success with more than 200 businesses registering, and the board of directors has decided to make it a permanently funded program.

The program gives independently owned businesses the opportunity to be profiled on community-branded web portals which promote and celebrate local businesses. Logan Lake, 100 Mile House, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof and Burns Lake joined Valemount last year in the pilot programs, and nine more communities will be joining the program this year: Telkqa, Smithers, Fraser Lake, Granisle, Ashcroft, Houston, Lytton, the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and McBride.

Community-specific websites like and feature professional photography, maps and business profiles, and say “We believe that mom ‘n’ pop businesses deserve major attention — and we’re here to (re)introduce you to the remarkable shops & services, right in your own backyard.”

“Small Town Love is all about celebrating independent businesses and the entrepreneurial spirit in central and northern BC,” said NDIT CEO Janine North.

NDIT says it will be providing information in the months ahead on participation and launch dates for each campaign. Locally owned, independent businesses in each community are encouraged to contact their municipal office or economic development officer to find out how to participate.