(Black Press Media files)

London Drugs to create ‘Local Central’ aisle for small businesses to sell products

Small businesses in Western Canada are invited to immediately submit products for consideration

A retail giant is reaching out to the little guy, offering to give small businesses a boost during the COVID-19 pandemic.

London Drugs announced Tuesday that space will be set aside in select stores, and small businesses that have been forced to shut their doors will be able to sell their products on London Drugs shelves.

“This is a really hard time for many small businesses, and we are in a unique position where we can really help out,” said London Drugs President and COO Clint Mahlman. “As a 75-year-old Canadian owned and operated company we have always supported fellow Canadian businesses and now is the time more than ever, to come together.”

The program is first being targeted at Vancouver and Victoria stores but small businesses across the province are invited to apply.

READ MORE: London Drugs offers exclusive hours for healthcare workers, helps sell Girl Guide cookies

READ MORE: London Drugs dedicates shopping hour to first responders

The retail giant also said its flyers will continue running in more than 80 local newspapers across B.C.

“We know printed flyers are crucial for community newspapers especially during these challenging times,” a blog post from the company stated.

“London Drugs knows that for many people in our smaller communities especially, these publications are an essential source for news and information and something residents look forward to.”

The company plans to turn centre aisles in select stores into ‘Local Central,’ and small businesses in Western Canada are invited to immediately submit products for consideration.

“Whether you sell coffee, local honey, or your restaurant’s graphic T-shirts, London Drugs is here to help,” Mahlman said.

Small business owners can apply online and must meet a handful of restrictions including:

– Must have a valid Canadian business license or permit.

– Business must be based in Western Canada (B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba).

– No alcohol, cannabis or tobacco products.

– Products must be physical items (cannot be service-based).

– Businesses deemed essential services (e.g. grocery stores) that are operating at full capacity do not qualify.

– Products must not require refrigeration or freezing.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business reports that only 21 per cent of small businesses in Canada are fully open due to the COVID-19 global pandemic and 50 per cent have reported that they are unsure if their business will survive.

READ MORE: Small business owner helps other entrepreneurs weather the COVID-19 storm

READ MORE: Small business owner in downtown Chilliwack tries to survive COVID-19


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eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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