October 31st, 2020

Support the community by buying local this season

By Submitted Article on December 14, 2019.



With the holiday season fast approaching, Lethbridge businesses are leaning in to the holiday retail frenzy.

According to the Retail Council of Canada, in 2019 Canadians are estimating to spend about $790 on their holiday purchases, but in reality, will most likely spend over $820. >The same survey also >showed that 85 per cent of Canadians are interested in buying from a retailer within Canada this year.

So how can our local community benefit? The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce recognizes local as being any business within our geographical boundaries of the City and County of >Lethbridge. >This includes locally-owned businesses as well as franchises that are in our local communities. >All businesses contribute to the tax base through their property taxes and >contribute to the economy through keeping our local residents employed. >

Consumer information on how and where to spend your dollars is key. Research by “Civic Economics” found that there is a sliding scale to >dollars spent in community and that for every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $68 stayed in the community compared to only $43 for a comparable purchase at a franchise. >These dollars have a significant effect as they contribute to everything from taxes to employee wages, helping an area to continue to thrive and increasing prosperity in the process.

Breaking it down further, locally-owned businesses tend to source local business support services such as marketing and accounting along with choosing more local suppliers. >This has additional multiplier effects and helps generate a market for local professional services.

That said, the choices in modern times aren’t limited to brick-and-mortar locations. The Retail Council of Canada reports that online sales will account for 28 per cent of holiday shopping this year. In the event you are still searching for the perfect gift, consider selecting items from local retailers. Keep in mind that many will offer their own online experience in addition to their physical location, increasing convenience for those of us who are short on time or prefer to avoid the crowds.

A scan of literature and articles regarding shopping local leads you to find a few common themes beyond the positive economic impact:

1. Building Community – the casual encounters you enjoy at neighbourhood-scale businesses and the public spaces around them build relationships and community cohesiveness. Customer service is better.

2. Economic Vitality – each dollar you spend at independent business returns three times more money to your local economy than one spent at a chain. The majority of new jobs are provided by local businesses.

3. Character – why did you choose to live in Lethbridge? What keeps you here? Independent businesses help give our community its own kind of personality.

4. A healthier environment – independent, community-serving businesses are people-focused. They typically consume less, carry more locally-made products, locate closer to residents and create less traffic and air pollution.

5. Lower Taxes – more efficient land use and more central locations mean local business put less demand on our roads, sewers and safety services. They also generate more tax revenue per sales dollar. The bottom line: a greater percentage of local businesses keep your taxes lower.

For these reasons, and to highlight our members, the Lethbridge Chamber has partnered with Economic Development Lethbridge and Downtown BRZ to launch #ShopTogetherYQL – a campaign aimed at encouraging you to shop local and to embrace the community brand, Lethbridge Brighter Together.

For us the main message is about supporting and building our community. Know what you are buying. Know where it’s made or grown. Then choose, but choose local if you can.

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