“Share the Love” campaign supports Whidbey businesses

— Created February 10, 2021 by Kathy Reed

By Kathy Reed

What better way to show Whidbey Island’s small businesses some love than shopping local for Valentine’s Day?

That’s the idea behind the “Share the Love” campaign being proffered by the Langley and Coupeville Chambers of Commerce. Get something special for your sweetie(s) and spread some love to small business owners who have been hit hard by COVID restrictions this past year. The way organizers see it, it’s a win-win.

“Overall, this is an extension of the “Shop Local” campaign, as spurring those that live on Whidbey Island to support their local businesses continues to be critically important to our small business’ survival,” said Inge Morascini, executive director of the Langley Chamber of Commerce. “There has been a further trend to shop online since COVID, but our local businesses are the backbone of our community and provide unique products and services, and the money spent stays in the community.”

“The Coupeville Chamber’s focus is advocating for our businesses and shopping local is our priority,” said Executive Director Lynda Eccles. “It is so important to continue to support our restaurants and retail businesses right now. We want to encourage the community to come to Coupeville and browse our unique shops to find that one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day gift or surprise your spouse or partner by ordering a delicious meal to take home.”

Many small businesses up and down Whidbey Island are offering Valentine’s Day specials. While some, particularly restaurants, have already stopped taking Valentine pre-orders, there are many others with plenty of seasonal items available. Whidbey residents are encouraged to check with their favorite dining establishments and retailers to see if there are still sweetheart deals to be had.

But Eccles noted shopping local shouldn’t just be reserved for special occasions, particularly during these difficult days.

“I am hoping this campaign will continue to encourage people to purchase a meal to pick up and enjoy from one of our local restaurants, not just for this campaign but throughout the coming months,” she said. “We have restaurants offering special Valentine’s Day themed meals, while others continue to offer tasty meals from their to go menus. Any meal you take home makes it special. Make it a picnic surprise, order sandwiches, coffee and pastries and take it to sit and enjoy the scenery or sit and watch the sunset.”

“Over the holiday season our local businesses saw a lot of support from the local community and it made the difference to some being able to stay in business,” Morascini said. “Our campaign serves as a reminder to people that the businesses in our community are our friends and neighbors, they employ local people, support local crafts people and the taxes they pay support the local community.”

Plus, Morascini said there are perks offered by Whidbey’s small businesses that are hard to find when shopping with large retailers or online.

“Many of our local businesses offer curbside delivery or even home delivery, in the case of Flying Bear Farm Florist,” she said. “They will even ‘bundle’ a flower purchase with gifts from other shops and deliver them to your doorstep. Foamy Wader Jewelry, in the Langley Village, offers QR code shopping from their windows, so you don’t even have to go inside to shop.”

In addition, small businesses have been carefully following safety protocols and continue to do so, making sure the health and safety of customers is the first priority.

“All of our shops are all following strict protocols, minimizing the number of people and sanitizing their environments,” noted Morascini.

“I am proud of our businesses and how they are following the guidelines outlined by the governor’s office,” agreed Eccles. “We all have to continue to follow the guidelines – that is the only way we are going to get through this. I believe people feel comfortable shopping locally because we do obey the rules. 

“Another way to support local is to shop online at the chamber’s ShopCoupeville.com,” Eccles continued. “A number of our retailers have their businesses registered and you can sit in the comfort of your home and shop.”

The Langley Chamber offers a similar online marketplace for its small businesses, found at altogetherlangley.com.

Still another promotion the Coupeville Chamber has going on is its “Shop Local, Share the Love Selfie Contest.”

“During February and March, snap a selfie showing your purchase, tag it with #shopcoupeville on Facebook or Instagram and be sure your posts are public,” Eccles explained. “We will hold a drawing at the end of each month for an opportunity to win a facial from Seaside Spa and Salon and gifts from The Crow’s Roost or bayleaf.”

But the bottom line, according to Morascini and Eccles, is that local small businesses need support from their local communities. It’s all connected.

“Our businesses offer unique products, much of it made or grown locally,” said Morascini. “Our businesses are our friends and neighbors. They are part of the fabric of our community, employing local people, and supporting the local economy. The dollars you spend locally, stay local.”

“The only way our communities are going to get through this is to support our local businesses; by doing that you are keeping people employed as well as keeping the doors open,” Eccles said. “Living here is a gift we are all lucky enough to share – let’s all get through this together. Shop local, eat local and buy local. When this is over, we can all say we played a part in helping our community get through this.”