That’s the Scoop – Shop local and keep your town alive

Richard Froese,
Reporter,
South Peace News

Local retail stores and businesses usually see slower volumes of shoppers after the rush of Christmas and the New Year’s holiday.

During the current economic downturn in Alberta, businesses need and invite local shoppers perhaps more than ever before.

Why do people continue to go out of their hometown to buy the basics like food, clothing and household items?

Prices may be higher at home.

But, when you shop at home, look at all the money you invest in your community, to support your family, friends and neighbours and local services.

Local businesses create jobs for those people.

Even business groups in major cities are putting out the plea for residents to shop at home.

Edmonton Downtown Business Association executive director Ian O’Donnell urges that in a story in the Edmonton Journal on Jan. 4, 2020.

“If we want to keep good retail (in your community), we have to make sure that we consciously go out there and support those retailers,” O’Donnell says.

“Shopping at a store in your community – wherever that may be – is important.”

If Edmonton sees that as a threat, it certainly is more for small, rural and northern communities.

Chambers of commerce and municipal leaders in Falher, McLennan, High Prairie, Peace River and Grimshaw certainly want locals to keep their money at home.

O’Donnell says big-box stores and online shopping have become a major challenge to small businesses.

“It’s a tough world out there for any retailer,” O’Donnell says.

“We really encourage people to shop local and remind people that they vote with their dollar.”

Do you want to see local businesses and community die a slow death?

Here’s how.

Continue to shop out of town and invest in that community.

Watch that community grow and yours die.

Businesses in your town will soon close, employees with loss their jobs and they will have to move somewhere else.

Some business organizations have conducted studies to determine where local shoppers are generally buying a variety of products.

Where is that leakage going, into what community and why?

Not only do people shop out of town for their family.

Perhaps more sadly, too many community organizations buy their supplies and food in major northern communities, rather than support their local business and people.

When organizations raise funds or promote an event or project, they remind people to support local.

But if those organizations shop out of town, what kind of a message is that?

What organizations are stating in that case, is support us and our community, but we support another community.

Why would any local resident want to donate money to a local group that will spend that money in another community?

Working in Falher from 2002-08 and 2011, and in High Prairie since 2014, I have learned that retail “leakage” for regular shopping is a concern in many local communities.

Many people in the High Prairie area shop in Slave Lake or Peace River.

Shoppers from McLennan travel to High Prairie.

Shoppers from Donnelly, Falher and Girouxville go to Peace River.

Peace River shoppers go to Grande Prairie.

That domino effect is something that seems to happen is every rural region of Canada.

Do you want to be part of the problem?

Shop and buy outside your local retail community.

Or part of the solution?

Shop at home and help local businesses and communities stay open.

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