A new website is available for Airdrie businesses to communicate with customers and promote how they are conducting business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Shauna Quinn, tourism development officer with the City of Airdrie, Things That Are Open (TTAO) is an interactive, centralized directory available to all licensed businesses in the city.
“It’s just a way for them to communicate to residents in one easy search – how they’re open, what they’re doing and how people can interact with them,” she said.
The western Canada-wide campaign was started by Edmonton-based digital agency Lift Interactive Inc. and the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. Local businesses in more than 30 towns and cities, including Airdrie, are able to upload their information for free at thingsthatareopen.com.
- INTERACTIVE MAP: See the latest COVID-19 statistics across Canada by province/territory on our interactive map.
Both the City and the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce are endorsing the initiative, which officially launched April 21. That morning, an email was sent to every licensed businesses in the city, inviting them to join.
Sara Chamberlain, team lead for Airdrie Economic Development, mentioned the campaign during an April 20 presentation updating Airdrie City council on how COVID-19 has impacted the business community.
“This is just the first step in our marketing,” she said. “We’re still at a public safety phase where we are trying to stop the spread, so we’re focused on facts and information right now, which is exactly what TTAO provides. Then, when we get closer to the time businesses can reopen, that’s when we’ll be looking at shop-local initiatives, and how we can encourage residents to come out of their homes and enter businesses, in a way that makes them feel safe.”
As of May 1, 32 municipalities across western Canada, spanning from Vancouver Island to Winnipeg, have signed on to the campaign.
In Airdrie, 172 businesses have uploaded information to TTAO, which includes updated hours, a description of their services, if they offer services online, if they offer delivery or curb-side pickup, their storefront’s address, a description of their services and other info.
TTAO also allows businesses to promote any specials or discounts they are offering during the pandemic, Quinn said, and the website provides a publishing platform for positive stories about local businesses.
“Those are the stories about businesses that are being inventive or resilient – different strategies they have been doing to help the community,” she said. “There are so many different groups helping each other out, so we are going to try to share those stories on the platform so residents can feel good about what we’re doing as a community.”
As the pandemic continues to negatively impact the business community, Quinn said TTAO will provide a valuable communication tool for companies that are hurting but still need to reach customers.
“I think it’s important to note there are so many different groups that are offering to help promote and market businesses, and this is just another one they can use,” she said. “If we can centralize this business directory, it’s important to let residents know there are so many businesses that are out there, still servicing the community.”