Davie Village businesses are treading cautiously around a new sponsorship opportunity offered by the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS).
Beginning this year, the VPS is inviting local businesses to become “Community Business Partners.” In exchange for $1,000-$2,500, the VPS will promote the sponsor’s business and logo online and in print, showcase it in the Pride newsletter and offer VIP spots to view the parade on Aug 1.
“We need our community to step up and start sponsoring Pride,” says the VPS’s sponsorship coordinator, Caryl Dolinko.
“We set up this category specifically so that not only is it affordable, but also within easy reach, specifically for community businesses.”
Big businesses such as TD Bank and Telus are sponsoring Pride this year, she points out – now it’s time for businesses in the gay village to do the same.
So far, no Davie Village establishments have come forward, though J Lounge has signed up to be a Pride Event Partner.
Jesse Ritchie, co-owner and general manager of Score on Davie, thinks the new sponsorship level is pricey.
“It’s $1,000-$2,500 for a logo on everything, so it’s just something we have to make sure is profitable for us. There are other ways for us to be part of the community and help out with Pride than advertising our logo on things.”
Ritchie says he and his co-owners would prefer to take a wait-and-see approach with the new sponsorship level.
“It’s the first time they’re doing it, so maybe we’ll take a year to see how it goes, and then maybe be a part of it next year.”
Dolinko says she hopes that other businesses will not follow Score’s lead. She estimates that sponsorship will bring businesses to the attention of about 700,000 people.
“Our website gets 50,000 hits a day leading up to Pride. On Pride Day, it crashes because of an overload of people looking for information. So if $2,500 is too much for you to affiliate yourself with the biggest event in the community, well, that’s your choice,” she says.
Little Sister’s co-owner Jim Deva says he would consider coming on as a Community Business Partner, but that he would expect someone from the VPS to speak to him personally about the offer.
“I’m waiting to be approached,” says Deva, who found out about the new sponsorship level from the Pride newsletter. “If somebody wants some money, they usually come and see me and we cut a deal. I don’t rush out and look for organizations wanting sponsorship money.”
Dolinko says the VPS is considering launching a more personal approach to attract Community Business Partners.
In the meantime, she is urging business owners to come on board as soon as possible.
“Pride is in 10 weeks. So if you want to come on two weeks before Pride, you’re not getting the exposure that those coming on early do.”
“We welcome everybody’s participation,” she adds, “and are willing to work a deal with any organization in any way whatsoever.”