Three local farms have come together to show support for fellow local and small businesses in southeastern Ontario.
Mackinnon Bros. Brewing, Topsy Farms, and Enright Cattle Co. have started a campaign to spotlight businesses in southeastern Ontario: #ShopLocalSEO.
For those unfamiliar with these local farms, Mackinnon Bros. is a craft brewery, and they host on-farm events; Topsy Farms raises happy sheep on Amherst Island, has on-farm experiences, and sells wool products and yarn; and Enright Cattle Co. is a sustainable focused beef farm with direct sales of beef and leather goods.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many local and small businesses are struggling to stay afloat, and the impact is being felt clear across the province. The #ShopLocalSEO campaign is hoping to support those small businesses who may not have a large online presence.
According to the organizers, the three farms have nearly 40,000 combined social media followers who already believe in shopping locally. The farms will highlight other businesses with smaller profiles so that more people can learn about them.
“It’s so difficult to operate a small business” says Kara Enright of Enright Cattle Co. “That’s truer now than it ever was before, but the internet makes it possible for a farm to talk directly to a potential customer; this is a very new thing. We want to share what we have.”
The farms will use their social media platforms to do profiles on some of their favourite local shops, organizers say. They will also add links to other small business websites on their webpages for easy click-through, and will do everything they can to help and support other businesses. Shoppers will be encouraged to use and follow the hashtag ShopLocalSEO when making a purchase.
“Our goal is to keep more money in the local economy; that’s good for all of us,” said Jacob Murray of Topsy Farms.
Organizers from the three farms want this idea to go beyond southeastern Ontario, they challenge other Ontario regions to do the same: “There is no way western Ontario can organize like we can,” teases Murray. “Come on, prove us wrong.”
Any business with an active website or social media account can get on board with this campaign. Simply add a Shop Local page to an existing website, then add links to favourite local shops and services.
“There are so many awesome artists and makers in this area,” shared Ivan Mackinnon of Mackinnon Brothers Brewing Co. “Showcasing their work has always been a priority for us.”
The farms have already been providing spaces for local vendors at their real-life events, such as the Enright’s and Mackinnon’s upcoming Christmas Holiday Markets (details below.) “We can do more than just host
events on the farm; we can share stories about these market vendors on-line,” Mackinnon explained.
“Anyone can join in. If you buy something locally, use the hashtag and share it with your friends,” says Enright. “Tell others about that delicious craft soda, or your neighbour’s new charcuterie boards,” adds Jacob Murray,,
Both Enright Cattle and McKinnon Bros. will be hosting holiday markets this season, with a focus on local vendors:
Mackinnon Brothers Brewing Co. – 1915 County Rd 22, Bath, On – 613-777-6277
The Mackinnon market will run over 2 weekends:
- Nov. 27 from 3 to 8 p.m., and Nov. 28 & 29 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Dec. 4 from 3 – 8 p.m., and Dec. 5 & 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Enright Cattle Co. – 326 Hunt Rd, Tweed, On – 613-478-3404
The Enright Market will take pace Dec. 5 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Topsy Farms is not having an in-person market, but they do have an online Shop Local page: https://www.topsyfarms.com/pages/shop-local
Remember to use #ShopLocalSEO this holiday season.