With summer here and an expected focus on hospitality and friendship-building with visitors, the Castlegar Chamber of Commerce is also doing all it can to maintain momentum in regard to its Shop Local initiative.
It is well understood that economic pressures apply to all segments of society and everyone needs to look out for themselves. But area residents are also urged to consider where their dollars go, and what occurs as a result of spending decisions.
The Chamber is keeping up with efforts to foster a more healthy commercial environment in and around Castlegar through the ‘shop local’ movement.
“We’ve definitely gotten some mileage out of the campaign within the business community. We seem to be hearing a lot of positive feedback,” said the chamber’s executive director Pam McLeod recently.
“We have also rolled out a ‘shop local’ focus group facilitated by thrive Consulting. We got to understand more of the challenges on behalf of some of the retailers in the community.”
The cross border option for local shoppers is an identified and ongoing challenge mentioned by McLeod.
“All of the communities within the West Kootenay region are sitting right on the border,” she said. “We’ve also identified that cross border shopping is only one of the aspects. We can also say that there’s economic leakage east and west of us as well.”
Member of Parliament for BC Southern Interior Alex Atamanenko has met with McLeod on the economic topic, and commented on July 13.
“I consider myself a Canadian nationalist,” said the MP, adding that he’d like to appeal to our patriotism to get people to shop locally, even it it costs a bit more.
“I fully support the campaign… whatever we can do to raise people’s awareness of this whole issue.”
Atamanenko also touched upon the significant matter of the various sponsorship provided by local commercial interests.
“Local businesspeople work hard to give back to the community, so it’s almost unfair if we don’t support them in that. The merchant in Spokane or Kelowna isn’t supporting athletics in Castlegar,” Atamanenko concluded, “I think a coordinated effort… working together to really promote this (Shop Local) is the key here.”