A local initiative helps Ottawa businesses during COVID-19

Covid-19 has changed the lives of millions around the world. For the past month, Canadians have been under lockdown, encouraged to social distance in the hopes of preventing and slowing the spread of the virus. While the quarantine is necessary to our safety, many local businesses have been suffering in consequence. 

Ottawa’s local retailers and restaurants are temporarily shut down due to Coronavirus. Without an Internet presence, some businesses’ sales are plummeting. The new website, together-apart.ca, launched by a team of volunteers highlight local restaurants, florists, salons and many more. With updated information on gift cards, online shops and curb-side pickup and delivery, together-apart helps keep Ottawa’s businesses open despite these difficult circumstances. Currently, there are around 250 businesses represented on the site. The site is completely free and run by volunteers. With a sense of camaraderie amongst the volunteers, the initiative is able to run smoothly.

As a former Shopify employee, Mohammed Hashemi, was inspired to introduce the program to the public in the hopes of helping local businesses. Working together with a friend, Harry Brundage, they decided to put their tech skills to better use and help the Ottawa community through these difficult times.

“At the time, the government was beginning to announce a lot of programs, but most of the early ones left small businesses behind. Given that these businesses are a big part of what makes living in Ottawa so great, we felt that we should focus on finding ways to help them out. As consumers, the biggest problem at the time was trying to figure out who was open, who was selling, and how they were delivering. To solve that, we built Together Apart, an easy to use directory containing all the information needed for consumers who are looking to buy local and support their community,” says Hashemi.

The team is now branching out to neighbouring towns just outside of Ottawa. Because the website is crowdsourced, anyone can submit a listing. Built in a way that allows non-technical volunteers to manage the site, together-apart is user friendly. Check out the site to add any missing local companies and businesses!

Together-apart unites the Ottawa community to support one another. Despite the changes citizens of Ottawa have experienced, together-apart is here to support all local businesses. Check out their website to add a listing or browse the shops!