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A Little Help from Google: Lending a hand to 22 small businesses during the holidays

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Every year, almost one million people visit Canada’s Distillery Winter Village to shop local vendors, enjoy tasty seasonal treats, snap photos of the festive decor, and soak up the holiday cheer that fills the air. Known as one of the country’s most magical holiday shopping and dining experiences, the Distillery Winter Village provides an opportunity for Canadian small businesses to sell gifts, food and drinks to festival goers.

As the small business vendors prepare for the holiday season, we understand how overwhelming this time of year can be for them. Many of them are wearing multiple hats (CEO, CFO, CMO, chief people officer), dealing with the uncertainty of the past few years, and getting ready to meet the rush of demand for the upcoming Holiday season.

Today, 22 Canadian small businesses from coast-to-coast gathered at the Distillery Winter Village in Toronto for a kick off meeting to mark the beginning of the annual holiday market. Businesses like Vancouver’s Provence en Couleur, Toronto’s Chippi & Co, and Halifax’s Lobster Made Easy were gathered under the guise of a “safety meeting”, little did they know that they were about to be surprised with A Little Help from Google.

We surprised the 22 Canadian small businesses participating in the Distillery Winter Village with a gift of $10,000 each to cover their booth rental fees and other costs during the busy holiday market. The past few years have been tough for everyone, especially small businesses, so we hope today’s news takes a little bit of stress off these vendors during the busy holiday season.

“The Distillery Winter Village is a must-attend holiday staple because of the picturesque setting and our amazing vendors who offer top quality products,” said Rik Ocvirk, Vice President, Distillery Events. “As someone who works directly with a number of small businesses, I can tell you that every small business has a story and $10,000 at this time of year means so much to each and every one of them. We at the Distillery provide the magical atmosphere to our shoppers, but this year Google really stepped it up and brought the magical feelings to our vendors as well.”

Today’s campaign, “A Little Help from Google” at the Distillery Winter Village is part of our larger nationwide initiative to help small businesses reach holiday shoppers. Other programs this holiday season include:

  • Our Holiday Hub, which features free tools, resources, and recommendations for small businesses to capture holiday demand. On the hub, businesses will find out how to stand out on Google Search and Maps with a free Business Profile, how to show their live store inventory with Pointy, and how to promote products across Google with free product listings. The Holiday Hub is available in English and French.
  • Digital Main Street’s ShopHERE powered by Google program, which helps small businesses set up an e-commerce website for free, and provides consultation to small businesses looking to digitize their offerings to sell online. To date, over 40,000 Canadian businesses have signed up for the program.

Small businesses mean so much to all of us here at Google and across Canada. Not only are they the economic engine of the country, but oftentimes they are the heart and soul of their communities. We hope today’s support will provide small business vendors at the market with a little bit of relief as they enter one of their busiest moments of the year. See you at the Distillery Winter Village!

Be sure to follow our journey! @GoogleCanada, #ALittleHelpFromGoogle, @distilleryTO, #DistilleryWinterVillage