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REPORTING · 10th October 2015
Walter McFarlane
The Community Room at Riverlodge was packed with people as Love Kitimat, an initiative between Northern Development Initiative Trust and the District of Kitimat, held their open house on Thursday, October 8th.

“We are trying to help small businesses, independent locally owned businesses promote themselves,” said Rose Klukas, representing the District of Kitimat. “One of the things we recognise when we talk to small businesses is they don’t have the capacity for marketing. This is a marketing initiative.”

Independent, locally owned businesses are eligible, franchises are not eligible. The businesses who sign up receive a professional photo shoot done by a local photographer. They have a professional write up on the business and a spot on their website when it is launched. The website is there to introduce the community to the small town love businesses.

So far, there have been 22 other launches for the Small Town Love Program in Northern British Columbia. Almost 1000 businesses are networked through the small town love program.

“Our focus is to help promote the north and build a stronger North and the Small Town Love Program that started in Quesnel with an independent entrepreneur is a model we have embraced so that other communities can benefit from the same kind of marketing platform and based on the uptake of businesses have had by participating, it’s just been a huge success,” said Renata King, Certified Management Consultant for Northern Development Initiative Trust.

Why are small businesses important? Klukas told us Kitimat is built on industry but the commercial sector is a big part of the local economy, both monetarily and by adding to people’s quality of life.

“I think that small business is integral to our communities as well, because you can’t just have a community that supports large industry,” said King. “Certainly, Kitimat benefits from that but the people who live in the community don’t have just industry to refer to so it is important that small businesses are supported and they are the social fabric of the community, the unique independent businesses are those businesses that make Kitimat different and distinct.”

She explained the purpose of this program is to show people what diamonds are located in their home towns.

Mayor Phil Germuth was also out that night to say a few words, welcome the community to the launch party for the Love Kitimat initiative and cut the cake. He reminded everyone that October is Small Business Month. Germuth also took the time to promote a business walk, which will be taking place on November 4th. Stay tuned for further information on this.

For further information on how you can get your locally owned business involved with Love Kitimat, contact Rose Klukas at the District of Kitimat Offices at 250-632-8920 or go to the Love Kitimat Website: www.lovekitimat.com.