Today, our city’s local main street businesses are celebrating a big milestone. September 16 marks the 50th anniversary of Canada’s first Business Improvement Area (BIA) – groups of neighbourhood businesses working together to promote economic vitality.

BIAs are partners working with us to create some of our best-known and most-loved neighbourhoods, promoting support-local initiatives and enhancing streetscapes for citizens and visitors to enjoy.

The prolonged economic downturn has been challenging to everyone and local BIAs are helping members through tough times.

“Encouraging a buy-local mentality and working with The City are key to helping businesses stay afloat,” says Annie MacInnis, executive director of the Kensington Calgary Business Revitalization Zone.

“It’s a really can-do mentality these days. The message we’re getting from The City is ‘what can we do to help? Tell us what you need.’ And that’s a wonderful thing to hear,” said MacInnis.

Keeping a strong focus on buying local is crucial for supporting neighbourhood businesses. If every household spent $10/month buying local, the Calgary economy would get a GDP boost of $52m and would generate an additional 823 jobs in our city.

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