The founders of an online shopping portal for Chatham-Kent businesses are encouraging residents to shop local this holiday season.

LUVLOCAL, which provides an e-commerce platform for local businesses to buy and ship their products, said small businesses frequently struggle to stay afloat, especially during the holidays.

“We see a lot of businesses close every day, all over the place. And if we can help them even just a little bit, financially and also to support them to give them that confidence boost, I think we’ll see a lot less businesses closing,” said Moréna McDonald, a co-founder of LUVLOCAL. “Every time you see a local business, whether it’s in a brick and motor store downtown or at a market or event… each one of those businesses represents a person who is either providing for themselves or themselves and their family.”

McDonald said LUVLOCAL will bring added exposure to these businesses, but it’s up to the community to support them.

“It’s really important to support them over the holiday season, not only because their business is a source of income for them, but also because they experience such joy when they make a sale. I have seen it so many times over the past 10 years working with small businesses,” she said.

LUVLOCAL launched on November 15, featuring 11 local businesses utilizing its services, and several more reaching out to express interest in signing up.

“We’ve been helping these businesses with their product photography, with some of the marketing, with getting some photos of themselves too. These are all challenges… and so we’ve been able to help each one,” said McDonald. We’ve worked with all 11 individually. We’ve spent lots of hours with them to get them ready for the platform.

“We recognize that businesses face a lot of challenges before they even make it to their first sale.”

For more information, visit the LUVLOCAL website by clicking here.