Making a ShopLocalWR Map

Over the past few months I've shared information about an interactive map I created in Tableau Public showing local independent shops in Waterloo Region. It's a work in progress but a great place to start. I use it all the time when looking for local businesses.

ShopLocalWR map with categories, attributes, and search fields

Why is it important to shop locally?

The purpose of this map is to help people find local, small, independent businesses, whether they have a physical location or are online with pickup or delivery. There are many reasons to support local businesses:

  • every dollar you spend locally contributes to the local economy
  • when businesses grow they can employ more people. Micro- and small-businesses are the largest employers by number
  • in the past few years, we've all done a lot individually to help reduce our carbon footprints and reduce GHGs. But in that time, GHGs from transportation have increased. If possible, buy locally to reduce transportation costs and their adverse affect on the environment.

Map features and content

I'm still working on categories and adding descriptions and keywords, but want to get community input for that. If you see a business with info that needs updating, please let me know. Or share this post and tag that business and have them get in touch with me.

There are many more businesses to add and I add them as I find them. There's also a form for community submissions. In addition to name, location, website, and description, please suggest keywords which can be used to search. And it would be great to know if the business is BIPOC-owned, woman-owned, or is a certified living wage employer. In Waterloo Region that's $16.35/hr, and in Guelph it's $17/hr.

For businesses that are online-only with no physical location, I've dropped a point on the centre of the city in which they're located. 

I've added name and keyword search fields, and the ability to filter by attribute. There's a blue question mark in the top right of the map that explains how to use the map.

shoplocalWR map categories, attributes, and search fields

Here's the current list of categories, but I'm open to suggestions.

  • Bakeries & Treats
  • Beer, Liquor & Spirits
  • Clothing & Jewelry
  • Coffee & Tea
  • Gifts & Miscellaneous
  • Groceries
  • Self Care Products

I'd like to add subcategories for Groceries and Gifts & Miscellaneous, but have to learn how to add filtering on subcategories.

  • Local Food Shops, Farms, Bulk, Local Meat & Seafood, Local Produce, Dairy & Cheese, Specialty Foods
  • Bike Shop, Books & Music, Hobby & Toy, Arts & Crafts

Perhaps a category for experiences, such as games and cinemas. This map does not yet have services on it. There are a LOT and I'm still working on the best way to add those. But my focus for this map is to promote local products to reduce the need for shipping and transport.

How to use the map

You can search by category and/or attribute, simply by clicking on the item in the legend. And clicking again clears the selection. Here I've searched for businesses that sell self-care products and are BIPOC-owned. 

ShoplocalWR map showing self care business category with attribute of BIPOC-owned

In the current list there's only one company, Beauty Club Outlet in Cambridge. I'm sure there are more - so please let me know! Hovering the cursor over the symbol shows the business information, including any description and keywords added, address, and links to the business website and Google Maps location.

shoplocalWR map - hovering over symbol shows business name, keywords, address, and links to website and Google Map location

One more feature of this map is the directory. It shows a directory of all points on the current map view. So the default is to list all businesses, but if you've filtered your view by category or attribute, then only those show up in the directory. And clicking the directory listing takes you to the shop's website.

shoplocalWR filtered directory

There are still a lot of shops to be added. I work on it whenever I have time, but I really need community support to let me know about all the missing businesses. Let's make sure everyone knows about all the wonderful, local, neighbourhood businesses in our communities!


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