New West residents are invited to rediscover local eateries that have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of New Westminster is teaming up with the Downtown New West BIA, Tourism New Westminster and the Uptown Business Association on the newly launched #ReDiscoverNewWest food and beverage campaign. The initiative was developed by a subgroup of the city’s business and local economy pandemic response task force.
“Rediscover New West is a campaign that promotes locals and nearly locals to rediscover all the great things that we love about New Westminster,” said Jen Arbo, the city’s economic development coordinator. “This first part of the campaign focuses on all of our eateries, so that includes our bars, cafes, restaurants. It includes the little take-out joints and the big, big restaurants as well.”
According to Arbo, future campaigns could incorporate other sectors, such as retail, service or health care businesses.
The campaign, which will run for about six weeks, features weekly contests.
Arbo said the campaign includes businesses in all neighbourhoods of the city, including 12th Street, Sapperton, uptown, downtown and Brow of the Hill.
“One of our challenges with this campaign was balancing the provincial health orders and ensuring that people do things safely,” she recently told city council. “Our entire campaign has been built on whether people feel comfortable dining in or not, are doing takeout, or are eating at one of the parks or at one of the parklets. We have purposely tried to provide a really wide lens.”
Coun. Chinu Das believes the campaign is well timed, as many people are starting to feel more excited that a vaccine is coming.
“In a way, you start feeling like everything is OK, but it’s not,” she said. “Businesses are still struggling. I think it’s really good timing to have this.”
Mayor Jonathan Cote said #ReDiscoverNewWest is a really important campaign, as 2020 was an incredibly difficult year for the local economy. He said the food and service industry was disproportionately hit by the effects of COVID-19.
“It is so important that our community really get behind our local businesses because I think it is going to be so critically important for them to be able to survive and continue to play the important role they play in our commercial districts and in our community in general,” he said. “I am confident that New Westminster residents will step up to the plate. We all know and love our local restaurants, but now is the time that we need to show that love and get out and be able to support.”
At this stage it might just be getting more take-out from your favourite places, Cote said, but as restrictions start to lift he said it’s important to go back out and continue to support local restaurants.
“There are so many places to enjoy a delicious meal in this city,” said Blair Fryer, the city’s manager of economic development and communications. “Our restaurants and eateries are operated by friends and neighbours, and they need our support now more than ever. If you’re thinking of trying something new, we encourage everyone to think local.”
Organizations involved in the campaign are hoping #ReDiscoverNewWest will entice residents to check out local restaurants, cafes, bars, and eateries at a time when they really need the community’s support.
“New Westminster has so much to offer which provides endless opportunities to explore and experience what is in our own community,” said Tracy Eyssens, president of Tourism New West, in a press release. “Tourism New West is excited to support our local entrepreneurs through #ReDiscoverNewWest and showcase the many delicious options available in this city’s diverse food and beverage scene.”
Kendra Johnston, executive director of the Downtown New West BIA, said the local organizations have come together to promote the various ways people can enjoy incredible food in New West this winter and to support hundreds of local eateries that have been hard hit throughout the pandemic.
The #ReDiscoverNewWest campaign includes a series of contests, from posting online about your favourite hidden gem or thanking a supportive restaurant owner, server or bartender. Each week, a new opportunity will be offered that gives folks a chance to win a $200 gift card to a New Westminster eatery.
“New Westminster is small, so it's important that we work together and support each other as much as possible,” said Erin Jeffery, communications coordinator for the Uptown Business Association. “We're incredibly proud to be collaborating with such fantastic partners to promote all the great places and spaces in New West this winter.”
Details about #ReDiscoverNewWest, including restaurant listings and weekly contests, are available at www.rediscovernewwest.ca.