In our last article for the Summerland Review, we shared our excitement about the upcoming 25th Annual Festival of Lights with the readers.
The majority of the events and activities that evening are happening on Main Street and Victoria Road — your downtown. In addition to being a fun community event, Light Up has long been considered a way to showcase our eclectic town centre and highlight the many businesses that reside there to provide services for us.
It is considered the kick-off to the local holiday shopping season.
And while it is important to visit your favourite shops, restaurants and professional service providers downtown, it is also important to remember all the other wonderful businesses we have right here in Summerland and the importance of supporting them all year long also.
Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons why it’s so important to think local first for all your needs.
Money spent here stays here
For every $100 spent here, $68 comes back to the community through expenditures if spending with an independent business.
Spend the same amount at a national retailer and only $43 is put back into that community. Spend the same amount online with an out of town retailer and $0 comes back to the community.
Jobs and wages
Money needs to stay in the community if we are going to provide jobs.
We can’t hire you, your spouse, your kids or any other friends and family members without being able to grow our businesses.
And receiving service from friends, family and neighbours means we get to know you and your needs like nobody else.
You can’t beat that for great service.
and be green
Does it really make sense to drive south in case you might save a few cents on a pound of apples when you spend more on energy consumption and time?
If you do need to go the extra mile consider filling up locally first.
And the more you shop here, the more varieties growers can provide etc.
If you can’t get what you want locally make a point to ask that friendly businesses owner if they can get it in. If the item is not available ask if they have substitution recommendations or know of another local supplier for the product.
Buying at least four of the five things you need here WILL make a difference to the health of the community you live in.
Local character and prosperity
Communities that preserve their distinctive character and one-of-a-kind businesses are better able to offer a more diverse quality of life for residents, and unique experiences for visitors.
Only by supporting local can we hope to have a vibrant downtown with all the vacancies filled.
And don’t forget that filled vacancies equals better tax revenue which equals more services and amenities which we all need and enjoy.
Local businesses are likely owned and managed by people who live and work in our communities.
They are invested in our community’s future and support our churches, our schools, our organizations, our service clubs, community events such as Festival of Lights and your fundraisers.
These businesses cannot offer support to all these important and necessary pillars of a great community without being ABLE to. Money in equals money out.
We hope to see you out on Light Up night, enjoying all the local wares and offerings.
While warming up in stores and offices take the time to inquire about the services and products you’re interested in. Find out what makes them unique and what they can do for you.
Let businesses know what you want and give them a chance to deliver.
Arlene Fenrich is president of the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism. All of the members of the board of directors serve as volunteers.