Support the businesses that support your community

February 26, 2018, 4:45 pm


Throughout the year, we publish special sections in the paper to highlight different aspects of life in our area—our spring and fall agriculture sections, our Mining Energy and Manufacturing sections, our Salute to Local Professionals, our Grad section, our Minor Hockey and Figure Skating section, our Minor Ball section, our “Get Involved” sections that highlight local clubs, our Salute to Local Heroes that recognizes the contributions of emergency responders, and lots more.

Our third section in this week’s newspaper is our “I Do Business Locally” section. The point of this section is to remind people just how important it is to support the businesses in local communities.

Every day we all make purchasing decisions, and those decisions can impact our communities. We can decide to order an item online, buy it in a box store in the city, or buy it locally and support a local business.

Purchasing online is getting easier for many people, and purchasing in the city is getting easier, as many people are travelling to the city regularly for hockey tournaments, conventions, conferences, concerts, and other events. But when we choose to support local businesses, we are helping those businesses to employ our friends and neighbors.

When we choose to support local businesses, we are supporting businesses that pay property taxes which pay for our RCMP officers and our local fire departments, for our streets and roads, for our health facilities and our recreation facilities.

When we choose to support local businesses, we are supporting businesses that turn around and support everything from your kids’ ball teams to the local senior hockey team to the local 4-H club to service clubs to the local food bank to fundraisers for your neighbors in need.

Shopping locally means supporting the businesses in your own town, and those in neighboring towns that serve you as well.

We live in a small area filled with lots of great communities with huge potential.

These communities support each other. A lot of people from Moosomin take their kids to swimming lessons in Rocanville in the spring, those fees help pay the instructors who in turn spend some of that money at stores and restaurants in Moosomin.

Someone from McAuley might purchase an item from a business in St. Lazare, that St. Lazare business might buy advertising in Moosomin, the Moosomin business might take its staff out to the steak pit in Maryfield, the dollars spent in Maryfield might support a local business in Redvers, and on and on.

People from Moosomin buy sleds from Stan at Universe Satellite in Rocanville, people in Rocanville buy cars and trucks in Moosomin, people from Moosomin support restaurants from Virden to Kenosee (I have never been to T’s or the Moosehead without seeing at least one other table full of people from Moosomin), farmers from a large area buy their farm machinery in Moosomin or Redvers, everyone from a large area who needs a travel trailer supports Four Seasons Sales in Virden etc., etc., etc.

I could come up with 30 or 40 more examples of how all the businesses in the region support each other, but you get the idea. The money circulates throughout the entire region.

Every time we choose to do business within our communities we help to build this vibrant region.

It’s always amazing to put together the “I Do Business Locally” section and find out how many jobs these local businesses create, and how much they invest in our communities in terms of donations and contributions to local projects.

This year’s Shop Local section is the largest ever. It includes 178 businesses that employ 2,635 of your friends and neighbors­—more support than we have ever had for this section (so much support that we added four pages from last year’s issue).

We all know that major industries like oil, potash, and manufacturing employ a lot of people in the area, but we sometimes forget how many people small businesses employ in total.

The support of local businesses makes our communities what they are. Look at the huge success of the fundraisers that our communities throw every time there is someone in need.

A large part of the success of community fundraisers is the support of local businesses.

None of the money you spent on that toaster at Wal-Mart or on that book on is helping out these local fundraisers.

How much does all that support add up to over the course of a year? A lot.

When we contact businesses for the “I Do Business Locally” section, we ask each business how much they donate to their local communities in a year.

We don’t publish the individual figures, but add them up to get an idea how much local businesses donate to our communities.

The grand total this year is $1,783,973—an amazing total!

There are sometimes challenges that come with living in a small community, and there are also a lot of benefits. But like everything else in life, what we get out of our communities depends very much on what we put into them.

Hopefully the “I Do Business Locally” section will do what it is intended to do, and encourage people to think about the benefits of doing as much business locally as possible.

When we support our local businesses, they can support our communities!