CALGARY -- A local community-first network aimed at encouraging Calgarians to shop local is going the extra mile to ensure holiday spending supports small businesses.

Be Local YYC will give individuals $79 the price of an Amazon Prime membershipif they cancel their Amazon Prime account and send an email confirming the cancelled account.

The $79 gift card can be spent on Be Local YYC's website, and does not expire.

According to Meredith Perich, Be Local YYC network coordinator, the initiative has seen more interest than expected.

"It's appreciated from both consumers who were looking for an excuse to do away with that Amazon Prime membership, but also the businesses who are seeing more traffic on the be local store, so more exposure for their businesses too." Perich said.

Be Local YYC expected 50 people to take part in the program, and have already seen 30 submissions.

Until Dec. 24, 2020, individuals can email with a confirmation screenshot of the cancelled account with the subject line 'I support local'. The gift card will be emailed back within 72 hours.

Ellie Bianca, a local natural skincare company founded by Evelyne Nyairo, has been a part of Be Local YYC for four years and is counting on Calgarians to support local this holiday season.

"Normally we make the majority of our revenue in the fourth quarter, so this is a make or break sale period," Nyairo said.

"This is really the timing of do we keep our doors open, are we going to thrive or not, are we going to keep our staff employed?"

Local businesses have struggled through the COVID-19 pandemic, while stock in Amazon shot to an all-time high, prompting many local businesses to band together to create an alternative to the fast growing online retail site.

Limited quantities of the reimbursement are available. Additional terms and details are available on Be Local YYC's website, as well as a step by step instructional video.