Do you shop locally?
We hear it on the radio and on television, “shop locally and encourage your neighbourhood businesses”. But just what sort of impact does spending your money outside of town mean for the community?
Each year, Canadians spend more than $1500 over the holiday season, according to a survey by the Bank of Montreal (BMO). In addition, online transactions account for 30 per cent of national shopping, consumers spending upwards of $500 on the World Wide Web.
Here in Cornwall, it’s anticipated that the majority of shopping will be done locally, according to the city’s Economic Development agency. “I was told that less and less Cornwall citizens travelled to New York over Black Friday,” explained Mark Boileau, past Economic Development Manager for the city and now General Manager, Planning, Development and Recreation.
Boileau points to the Canadian dollar being considerably lower than its American counterpart as the main reason eager shoppers will more than likely not cross the border for Christmas gifts. “We’re doing quite well as opposed to prior years, when it comes to local sales,” he said. “The Canadian dollar is in our favour.” Boileau explains that by keeping purchases local, buyers are encouraging the city’s growth.
“The largest employers in our community are small businesses,” he added. “By buying locally during the holiday season, we can make sure that they will expand and grow.”
He also thinks that although online sales are popular, customers prefer to buy from actual shops. “People buy online when they want a specific thing that might not be available here in town,” he admitted. “But I think for the majority of shopping, they do it locally.”
With the holiday season well underway, most Cornwall stores are hoping for residents to cross their front doors and browse their merchandise.
The Cornwall Square welcomes hundreds of shoppers hourly. In an effort to attract even more spenders, the shopping centre has organized several events, such as story time with Mrs. Claus.