On May 11, 2020, Mayor John Tory announced the launch of ShopHERE, a program to help Toronto independent businesses and artists open a free online store to minimize the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ShopHERE will provide Toronto independent businesses and artists the opportunity to develop an online store, which will be built and launched for free in just a matter of days. Hands-on support will be provided throughout the entire process from volunteer website developers and marketing and business students.
ShopHERE is supported by a number of community and corporate partners, including Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Shopify, Google, Mastercard, Microsoft, Facebook, eBay, Ritual, Trufan, eShipper, Snapchat, Magnet and Schulich School of Business - York University.
The program will provide Toronto's independent businesses and artists with:
• A template to develop an online store on Shopify, customized with their information, branding, logo, etc.
• Hands-on assistance setting up and launching their online store
• Training and support for digital marketing, shipping and operating an online store
• Access to free tools and online advertising credits to support the launch of their online store.
An estimated 49,501 Toronto business, 7,371 of them restaurants, bars or cafes, are eligible for the ShopHERE program.
The initial program is available now through the end of August and the City's goal is to develop 3,000 online stores for Toronto independent businesses and artists.