Businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. Restaurants have closed, stores have put of “For Rent” signs, and streets have become increasingly desolate, ridding the common foot traffic that businesses bank on. But now there’s a platform that might encourage you to go online and support local businesses instead of letting your doomscrolling fingers order another item from Amazon just to feel alive.

Enter Not Amazon, a website highlighting independent local businesses in different cities. “Think of it like a mall directory — but for your whole city,” says Ali Haberstroh, the founder of the site. The directory has received over a half million page views, with thousands of businesses already listed and thousands more waiting for approval.

Currently, there are listings in four cities: Toronto, Halifax, Calgary, and Vancouver. But more are coming, and since it is a volunteer-run operation, more are welcome. Imagine how big this could get.

To get a business listed, simply submit a link to the business with a photo. The photo cannot be pixelated, from Google Images, or the company’s logo. It needs to be at least 1000px wide. There is no cost to submit.

There are dozens of categories, including book stores, record shops, general stores, beauty, pets, and home decor.

The website just got a fresh upgrade, making it easier to navigate through selections and cities. Haberstroh has also gathered some her favourite selections and highlighted them on the main page. is expanding internationally in 2021, so if you want to enter your city into the mix all you need to confirm is a list of 100 local businesses to start the directory.

Here’s your chance to put your money and care into people and their livelihoods while keeping the world of commerce alive.

And it all started as a Google Doc attached to a $3 URL. 

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