May 27, 2022

As someone who has taught New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) students about the social and economic impacts of consumer purchasing power, Deborah Irvine Anderson knows how female consumers can drive trends.

Putting that knowledge to work, she recently launched 100 Women Who Shop KV to help support local businesses struggling with COVID lockdown measures under the province’s most restrictive phase of its winter plan.

Riffing off 100 Women Who Care of Greater Saint John, a group that has raised $855,960 for the region’s local charities, the aim is to galvanize women in the community – who can afford it – to spend at least $100 over the next two weeks at locally owned, brick-and-mortar businesses.

“I think there’s a responsibility for those of us who aren’t hurting to do good where we can,” she said. “So how can we divert that money to helping our communities and helping the economy?”

Irvine Anderson was born in Saint John but grew up in Gondola Point before it became part of Quispamsis. The former journalist turned NBCC instructor said the region’s local businesses are what make it unique. And she doesn’t want to see them disappear.

“It’s about being deliberate about where we spend our money and the economic impact women have because we have buying power,” she said, adding it’s not about the stereotype that women like to shop and that’s all they do.

Buy-local initiatives have been popping up across the province during the pandemic, many of which were launched by local business chambers. 100 Women Who Shop KV is another iteration of that, she said.

Since launching the Facebook page over the weekend, more than 400 people have joined. But, again, drawing on her business savvy, Irvine Anderson said those numbers are only “vanity metrics” until enough women take part.

As of Monday morning, only four people have posted to the group revealing where they spent their dough.

“The numbers don’t mean anything until people say, ‘Yes, I’ve spent $100. I’m supporting this restaurant or that salon or whatever,’” she said. “That’s what really matters.”

Quispamsis Deputy Mayor Mary Schryer recently took part and called it a great initiative.

“It’s so important because we worry about our small businesses – it’s a hard time for them,” she said. “It has been for a significant amount of time, so it’s important that we’re there to support our businesses. They’re an important part of our community and our fabric, and we want them to be here after the pandemic.”

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