Brockville, Ontario



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Jeff Morris

Shopping locally is an investment into your community

The Christmas shopping season is closing in on us very quickly.
While our hearts – along with our wallets and purses – open up with the season, our thoughts are blanketed with a layer of kindness. We become giving people, always dropping a loonie to the Salvation Army, local food bank, or whatever other charity may be there to collect money. We always tip the waitress a little bit more at lunch or breakfast, and we leave a card and tip out for the paper boy or garbage man.
But how do we treat our local merchants? Some of us our loyal with our local business people, yet some of us are not willing to extend loyalty to them.
Christmas is a make-or-break time of year for many local businesses. They need us.
And I am not talking about Wal-Mart and the megabox stores. It is the independent retailer – the one who is involved in the community and gives back to the community – who needs our support. It is the business that sponsors your kid’s hockey or soccer team or donates a gift certificate or auction item or door prize to your fundraiser or gold tournament.
We asked some of the area’s retail and business leaders why people should shop locally at Christmas time. Here are some of the answers.
1.    Customer Service – There is nothing like the customer service you receive at a local shop rather than at a big box or department store. One person told us that they are treated like they should “feel privileged” to shop at department stores or malls.
2.    Convenience – Face it. We live in a rural area, and fighting our way into the city during the Christmas season is not a treat. Most, if not all, of what you need is not as far away as you may think.
3.    Crowds – Unless you are a bored teenager, going to a crowded mall is not always everyone’s idea of a great way to spend a day. The crowds, the noise, even the constant coughing and sneezing around you, bothers some people. The village and small town experience can be much more enjoyable.
4.    Community – Local businesses are part of your community. They sponsor and support local events and sports teams. They work hard to be part of the community. They hire local people. If a business is loyal to you, maybe spending your Christmas dollars with them is not only a way of thanking them, but it is also a way of investing back into the community.
5.    Relationships – It is always good, as a customer, to form a friendly relationship with the people at the stores you frequent. These retailers will look for certain things for you or find you great deals. You won’t get that in a big city mall.
6.    Property value – One of our councillors has told us several times that without the business community, we are just a cluster of high-end homes near the water and neighbourhoods around it. The business community is what helps gives the community the image that it has. “How much would these million dollar homes be worth if there were no amenities?” he asked.
So before you drift over to the 416 and trek north, think about your local merchant and your local business. They are close to you beyond the actual item you want, and they support the community you live in.
Shopping locally is an investment in your community.


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