By David Shuman
The Musquodoboit Harbour and Area Chamber of Commerce and Civic Affairs (MHACCCA) has released a program supporting COVID recovery for the area’s small businesses called “Chamber Bucks.” The Chamber used $5,000 of its own funds and created vouchers that people can use at some local businesses.
The vouchers, administered by the Musquodoboit Harbour Food Bank and the Musquodoboit Harbour & District Lions Club, can be used at various businesses around the Musquodoboit Harbour area. Participating businesses are then reimbursed by the Chamber. MHACCCA Vice-President Larry Wartman says the program was created to help both businesses and residents who are facing tough times. They’ve distributed about half of the funds right now and will be printing the rest for the start of July.
Wartman says that the Chamber approached 17 businesses, most of which now accept Chamber Bucks. “We’ve reached out to service business, whether it be car work at Sammy Keizer Automotive, groceries at Uprooted, or takeout at Noor’s,” says Wartman.
Paul Flemming, owner and operator of Harbour Fish N’ Fries, says that he’s getting new customers because of the program. “I’ve seen a lot of faces here that haven’t been in before,” says Flemming. “I’m happy to see this money getting into the right hands. It’s helped pick up business. But the great part is helping people that need it on the Eastern Shore right now. I think other places could learn from what the Chamber is doing.”
Darlene Myers, organizer of the Musquodoboit Harbour Food Bank, says that the program has been a great help to their operations. “We’ve been able to help around 30 families,” says Myers. “They can go out and get a meal at a restaurant they may not have before or get paint at the hardware store.”