While major online shopping retailers continue to get bigger and busier, many locally-owned and operated retailers are struggling—a trend that is accelerating during the pandemic. The upcoming holiday shopping season will be critical for Durham’s small businesses, and that’s why the Region of Durham is pleased to announce the launch of a new multi-vendor e-commerce website, Shop Durham Region, for businesses to sign up and list their products online alongside other local products.

The innovative new online marketplace—with listings from Durham-based retailers and vendors only—will offer a single, streamlined shopping experience, where residents can go to buy products from multiple stores in a single transaction. Purchases will be collected through curbside and/or in-store pick-up, or through shipping options offered by each vendor. Funded by Regional Economic Development and led by the Whitby BIA, the marketplace is available to businesses across Durham.

By using the Shop Durham Region platform, Durham residents are ensuring their holiday spending is directly supporting their local economy. The online marketplace is designed to increase the number of customers that browse locally-offered products online, and the initiative will support local businesses in adapting; raising their digital presence and e-commerce capabilities.

To be successful, Shop Durham Region needs local vendors to join. For businesses with an existing online store, linking a Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento (and other ecommerce platform) store is simple. Businesses in Durham Region without an online store can also join, as well as both bricks-and-mortar and home-based businesses. Free support is available to businesses that need it, or those that don’t have an existing online store.

Participating businesses will be provided with set-up assistance, product photography style guides and training videos. The first 100 businesses to sign up will also receive professional product photography for up to five products. Over 30 vendors have already joined the marketplace, so small businesses will need to act quickly to access this free photography package.

Businesses interested in participating should visit ShopDurhamRegion.ca or contact the Downtown Whitby BIA.

This initiative is part of the Durham Economic Task Force’s economic support and recovery plan. To learn more about Invest Durham’s COVID-19 response, visit InvestDurham.ca/CovidResponse.

Quick Facts

  • Shop Durham Region is being funded by the Region of Durham. The project is being managed, developed, and implemented by the Downtown Whitby BIA. For more details and support, contact Downtown Whitby BIA.
  • Invest Durham and the Durham Economic Task Force are promoting numerous programs, grants and free digital services that are available to local businesses. Explore options at InvestDurham.ca/DigitalServices.
  • As part of the Digital Main Street (DMS) program, Digital Service Squads are available for Durham businesses to provide additional support to expand their digital presence, adopt innovative tools and explore new training opportunities. To learn more about the program or apply for a DMS grant, visit DigitalMainStreet.ca. The Region provided additional funding to augment the program to support businesses that fall outside defined BIAs or are not located on main streets. To learn more about the additional funding programs available, contact the Business Advisory Centre Durham (BACD).
  • The Region joined DMS ShopHere to provide independent businesses and artists an opportunity to develop an online store—free of charge—with specific branding, messaging, digital marketing, shipping and inventory management.
  • The Region partnered with Ritual to provide support for local restaurants and food services in Durham Region through Ritual ONE—a commission-free online ordering platform—at no cost for the remainder of 2020.
  • The Durham Economic Task Force—made up of the Region of Durham’s Economic Development and Tourism team, all eight local area municipalities, Business Improvement Areas (BIAs), BACD, all Durham Chambers and Boards of Trade, Durham College, Ontario Tech University, and Trent University Durham GTA—advocates for the urgent needs of our business community and support the delivery of various programs to eligible businesses in Durham Region. For more information, visit InvestDurham.ca/CovidResponse.

About the Author

Bryen writes about local Durham community news, including regional events, municipality updates, entertainment, lifestyle, and the great outdoors. Email him directly if you want your business profiled or know a community member that deserves recognition - bryen@thelocalbizmagazine.com