KITCHENER -- Shopping local in Guelph just got a little bit easier.

A Guelph man has created a map that shows local stores that are selling essential goods like food, drinks and clothing.

The goal is to show residents where they can shop local as an alternative to big box stores.

Abhi Kantamneni created the map, saying he likes to build interactive maps in his spare time.

When the provincial stay-at-home order came into effect late last week, he built the "Buy Local map." So far, more than 50 stores are on the list, but he said he will continue to update it.

"On one hand there is a group of people, small business owners who are working extra hard these days to remain open and to welcome customers through online orders and so on; and on the other hand, there are a lot of families who are looking for alternatives to shopping at a big box store," he said.

"So I thought my goofy hobby of making maps can bring these two groups of people together and help them connect with each other."

Gary Hallman, who manages Market Fresh in Guelph, said the pandemic has been challenging.

"Shopping local and more specifically shipping local products is more essential than ever," he said.

Hallman said the map could really help a local business boom, welcoming new shoppers and reminding customers that they're still open for business.

"A dollar spent here in the community has such a big impact," he said.

Having trouble viewing the map? Visit it on Kantamneni's website.