I live in the King West neighborhood in Toronto - an area typically bustling with foot traffic to its cafes, bars, and shops.
When COVID-19 struck Toronto in March, I was overwhelmed with the dramatic and immediate impact the pandemic had on local businesses.
As an entrepreneur and business owner myself, I could imagine the pain so many small business owners were experiencing - what it must have felt like to spend years building a business, only to have that taken away due to something completely out of their control.
I knew that I had to do something.
While the early days of the pandemic were unfolding, I saw how people were sharing stories about which businesses were open and who they were buying from. These stories were tremendously helpful, but they were hard to find, search, or filter. Discovering any local business story seemed more like a coincidence or simple chance.
We wanted to make it easy for locals to discover, create, and share their experiences, and enable other locals to go from viewing a story to making a purchase from the business.
That is how Localhood was born.
Localhood is a new online community of locals helping locals to discover and support their favorite local businesses through first-person visual stories.
Unlike social media stories, Localhood stories can be discovered by anyone with a simple Google Search. On Localhood.com, you can explore visual stories featuring different small businesses in Toronto and simply swipe up and click through the direct “Buy/Support” button that leads to an online purchase page for that small business.
We wanted to build the first Localhood in our hometown of Toronto and I’m thrilled to share that Localhood Toronto is launching today.
If you live in Toronto, check out Localhood next time you are looking for a restaurant to order takeout from, or a gift for a friend, sprucing up your garden, or even buying a new bicycle. There are so many amazing stories from locals and you are guaranteed that every action you take from Localhood is helping a business in your community.
To our customers outside of Toronto, we will be bringing Localhood to a city near you this year. We’ve had an overwhelming demand for Localhood from over 150 destinations, and are working to launch our next 2 cities this summer, followed by a broader rollout.