I love shopping at local shops, bakeries, cafés and restaurants; there is something to be said about that individual, personal touch that comes along with shopping small business. Knowing that you’re supporting the local economy and more than likely supporting a family-run business feels really good.

Local, independent shops add flavor and culture to our communities, reflecting the vibrancy and diversity of our cities. What would your day-to-day be like without Frank the butcher or the little ice cream parlour down the street? Small businesses make up 98 per cent of businesses in Canada!

This is why I think what American Express Canada is doing with their brand new program called Shop Small is fabulous. The Shop Small program supports entrepreneurial spirit and celebrates the role of small business in our communities which plays a huge role in driving our economy.

I’m happy to be working with American Express Canada in highlighting some of the participating merchants in Toronto and by pledging to #ShopSmall at small businesses in our neighbourhoods. I’ll be sharing my experience on my social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and hope you will join me by shopping small and spreading the word!

American Express is also launching an exciting Toronto’s Neighbourhood Gems contest in support of the program!  Visit the American Express Canada Facebook page and search for your favourite Shop Small business in Toronto on a map.  Then vote for your favourite small business once per day from April 1 – 21; each vote also earns you one entry into a daily draw to win a $50 Amex Gift Card.

The top five businesses with the most votes by April 21 will participate in a final round of voting; you can vote from the top from April 29 to May 5. The small business who wins the contest and is crowned Toronto’s Neighbourhood Gem will win a one-on-one social marketing consultation with Facebook Canada, an American Express Toronto Life Advertorial on their business in Toronto Life magazine and a celebratory event to honour the winning small business!  The other top four businesses will win a social marketing roundtable with Facebook Canada and a mention of their business in Toronto Life magazine.

Word of mouth is the #1 way  Canadians find or learn about small businesses in their neighbourhood.  Follow me and the conversation using #ShopSmall starting April 2 and participate by shopping small and supporting local businesses. Also don’t forget to vote for your favourite Shop Small business in the Neighbourhood Gems contest.

Off I go to my local bakery to get a latte!

 American Express Canada, Shop Small, #ShopSmall

This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.


Maria Lianos-Carbone is the author of “Oh Baby! A Mom’s Self-Care Survival Guide for the First Year”, and publisher of amotherworld.com, a leading lifestyle blog for women.

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