‘Amazon doesn’t pay for the hockey tourneys’: Nanaimo chamber of commerce urges people to shop local

WatchNanaimo Chamber of Commerce urges people to spend locally to help economic recovery.

For years, Jona Kristinsson worked as a musician, artist, talent promoter, and voice coach but when the pandemic arrived her work came to a screeching halt.

“Us musicians were the first to go out and the last ones to come back in. It’s so unpredictable and I’m not the kind of person who wants to just sit on CERB and just do nothing,” she said. “I saw an opportunity.”

Enter CurVa-Voom, a plus-size consignment store for women that Kristinsson recently opened in downtown Nanaimo. Kristinssonsaid decided she needed to make a drastic change if she was going to make income in the future and chose to open a store with a niche market.

“We specialize in an XL and up to 6X consignment and I’m just hoping I can continue to keep it going,” she said.

Kristinsson is among those who have come off the federal government’s Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program and reentered the workforce.

According to the B.C. government, 58 per cent of jobs lost in the province in March and April have since returned.

Kim Smythe, president and CEO of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce says while he is optimistic about the numbers of people returning to the workforce, the numbers still mean many are out of work.

“We’ve been fortunate to bring the numbers back up here in town but because we’re largely a service-sector driven economy, a small business-driven economy and a tourism-driven economy those are three areas that are still hurting very bad,” said Smythe.

Smythe says while there have been record profits by giant online retailers such as Amazon, he’s urging people to spend their money in their own community.

“Amazon doesn’t pay for the hockey tourneys. Amazon isn’t donating to our local United Way and the social services that need our help so bad,” he said. “So it’s the local businesses that drive those things and local businesses need our support more than ever right now.”

Amazon recently reported that their earnings in the second quarter increased 40 per cent to $88.9 billion, compared to the same time last year, and its net income increased by $5.2 billion.

Smythe says how people spend their money will influence how quickly people will have jobs to return to.

Back at CurVa-Voom Kristinsson says she’s seeing people consigning clothes they’ve purchased online that don’t fit and believes that’s one more reason to support a local store.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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