Family Friendly Initiative Launched

In honour and celebration of the first BC Family Day, the Boundary Success By 6 Family Friendly Business initiative launched with the first window decal placed at Grand Forks Credit Union. Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities is a partner in the Success by 6 program and is pleased to support this new initiative.

Local businesses – from Christina Lake to Beaverdell — now have the opportunity to self-identify as “Family Friendly” using criteria specified by parents and grandparents of young children. The business then obtains a window decal to help shoppers know that they are so designated and the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce (BCRCC) website will place a map marker on the www.boundarychamber.com.

“Interestingly, many of the things that families with young children want from businesses are the same things that our seniors require,” noted Christine Thompson, Chair of the Phoenix Foundation and a lead partner of the Boundary Success By 6 initiative. “It can be as simple as providing a chair for a brief resting or nursing place or a clean and accessible washroom.” Later this year, consumers (local and visitors) will have the privilege of nominating and voting online for a family friendly business in each community across the Boundary. Businesses will receive recognition and awards will be presented for those with the top number of votes at the annual Small Business Week event in October.

“It’s to all of our benefit to encourage more local shopping, as well as to find innovative ways to entice visitors to our area,” explained Todd Benson, President of the Regional Chamber. “The Chamber sees this as a helpful marketing tool for the Boundary.”

“We encourage all of our communities across the Boundary to get on board,” said Gary Smith, Grand Forks City Council liaison to the Phoenix Foundation. “The more momentum we build together, the more benefit there will be to our local business communities.”

The initiative is not new in the province as several communities across BC have declared themselves as being “Family Friendly”. Considering the needs of families is a great way to gain a reputation as someone who wants local people to shop in your business. With a minimal investment of time and resources, even the smallest business can offer an accessible washroom or make a chair available when a mother needs to breastfeed her baby, or acknowledge children and greet them. Return on investment includes but is not limited to: increased level of customer service, word of mouth referrals, enhanced reputation, and overall great community relations. By supporting local families, businesses help today’s children and families become tomorrow’s well educated, highly skilled and motivated workforce.

The top two requirements for Boundary area businesses to be designated as Family Friendly are an accessible washroom with a change table and a chair made available if a mom needs to breastfeed while in your business. Other criteria that create a safe and comfortable environment include having an inviting atmosphere, providing small giveaways for children, stroller parking, and building community partnerships (for example, donations to our Boundary Family Centres, volunteering or co-sponsoring events).

The City of Grand Forks, the local Rotary Club, and Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce have endorsed the initiative and have become champions in moving it forward together with the Boundary Success By 6 partners: the Phoenix Foundation of the Boundary Communities, Ministry for Children and Families, and Grand Forks Credit Union. The Family Friendly Business working group has been reaching out to various potential partners across the Boundary and has been invited to meet with the Christina Lake Chamber of Commerce.