Today, Mayor John Tory announced the launch of ShopHERE, essentially a digital mainstreet program to help an estimated 49,501 Toronto businesses, including 7,371 restaurants, bars or cafes. ShopHere will help these Toronto independent businesses and artists open free online stores to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City says ShopHERE will provide Toronto independent businesses and artists the opportunity to develop an online store, which will be built and launched for free in just a matter of days.
Supported by Toronto BIAs, Shopify, Google, Mastercard, Microsoft, Facebook, eBay, Ritual, Trufan, eShipper, Snapchat, Magnet and Schulich School of Business the program provides hands-on support throughout the entire process from volunteer web developers and marketing and business students.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to help our mainstreet small businesses get through this crisis,” said Mayor John tory. “The ShopHERE program would not be possible without the generous community and corporate support of our partners. Today, I am issuing a challenge for more Toronto technology companies to get involved – as they have done countless times during this pandemic – and volunteer to build online stores for Toronto’s independent businesses and artists to help them survive and recover.”
What ShopHERE will provide for local businesses
• A template to develop an online store on Shopify, customized with their information, branding, logo, etc.
• Hands-on assistance setting up and launching their online store
• Training and support for digital marketing, shipping and operating an online store
• Access to free tools and online advertising credits to support the launch of their online store.
To help develop the stores, volunteers from Toronto’s technology community are contributing their time. A number of companies have already agreed to participate, including Global Skills Hub, Scotiabank, General Assembly, Brain Station, Juno, FreshBooks, NEXT Canada, TechTO and TribalScale. Toronto tech companies with an interest in supporting small independent businesses and artists are encouraged to assist if they can.
The ShopHERE program will be delivered via the Digital Main Street platform. Toronto independent businesses and artists can sign up for their free online store at digitalmainstreet.ca/shophere.
The ShopHere program is a part of the Mayor’s Economic Support and Recovery Task Force’s short-term economic support and recovery plan for Toronto’s businesses.
The City’s website is updated daily with the latest health advice and information about City services and social supports. Check toronto.ca/covid-19 for answers to common questions before contacting the Toronto Public Health COVID-19 Hotline or 311.