Enough Whining About Cross Border Shopping in Cornwall Ontario! – Editorial by Jamie Gilcig

Enough Whining About Cross Border Shopping in Cornwall Ontario! – Editorial by Jamie Gilcig

CFN – Such gnashing of teeth and rending of cloth here in Cornwall Ontario as certain dignitaries who haven’t been earning their paycheques are taking shots at Cross Border shopping.

Being a border town, that stink comes up every now and again, but sometimes you have to look in the mirror and accept reality.

Cornwall has many borders.  Quebec is near by as our Economic Dev guy’s wife can tell you with the outlet mall in Vaudreuil/Dorion and some nice shopping in Valleyfield where a lot of locals zoom to buy cheaper Quebec beer!

And we have the bridge to the US where we can buy the same gas that the local McEwen’s sells for .95 per litre instead of $1.25 or more!

In our city we have a major shopping strip on Brookdale  that features big box type stores (ok, smaller versions of big box type stores) including Walmart.

We then have our city core which is struggling mightily as mom and pop businesses are not only forced to compete with cross border issues, but competing with big box stores and online sales.

We sell advertising which is usually the first thing that small businesses cut down on which usually is the one item they shouldn’t.  We have businesses that scream that you should shop local while not advertising locally which is kinda ironic.

As a consumer who struggles like 99% of everyone here we always have to look forward to the best value.   There’s nothing wrong with cross border shopping or shopping out of town.  I mean, what business turns out of towners biz down?  If someone comes over from Massena would you turn down the sale?  No.  It’s about competition.  Add in online and it really shows how important value, service,  and quality are becoming.   Now don’t get me wrong.  I prefer personally to shop locally and most of my purchases are made right here in Cornwall.

It’s not easy running any business or service!   Businesses locally and anywhere really need to understand their goals and how to communicate them to the public.

Small business is the life line of any community.  They generally offer goods and services not available in bigger stores and have local flavors that really work.  When I had a store on Montreal Road one of our biggest services was ordering goods online for our clients that needed that help or service.  That being said you can’t just rest on the fact you’re local. You have to work harder than the big guys  because each client is worth much more to you than to the big guys.   When I see Walmart full here in Cornwall I think of the loss to the hundreds of small local business.  That’s far more of a concern to me than Massena NY!

You always have to adapt and grow or you sink and die.

So instead of whining about Cross border shopping look in the mirror and amp up your business.      Make sure your website is up to date.   Listen to your clients.  Talk to your clients and ask them really important questions.   Look at what your competition is doing that you think is working and learn.    Make sure you’re socially connected online.   Those facebook & Twitter pages can really help not only make you money, but create awareness and branding.

And businesses in this town really need to learn to work nice with each other; especially in the down town core.   I spoke with one outfit that wanted to do an event on Pitt Street but was met with some very odd behavior from their fellow businesses.

One particular restaurant goes after the throat of its competition in some ways that just hurt the core, and the reality is that there’s a huge void with our Chamber of Commerce, DBIA & Team Cornwall failing to address some of the real needs of making our downtown core more successful.

Generally when a business fails it’s its own fault.   You can blame the rest of the world and dwindle or you can be the change and lead your business and community.

The World is full of borders.   It’s full of opportunity too.   That’s your challenge!   And if you’ve read this far please visit some of the amazing sponsors on CFN who are ahead of the curve in building their businesses and serving their communities!

Jamie Gilcig – Editor

The Cornwall Free News

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)

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24 Comments on "Enough Whining About Cross Border Shopping in Cornwall Ontario! – Editorial by Jamie Gilcig"

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Mary Anne Pankhurst
Member

Right! Good

JaneDoe
Guest

I have a hard time finding clothing I really like here in Cornwall.. i either go to Ottawa (mostly do) or Quebec.. Vaudreuil…. I like high end clothing not Walmart trash.. so Ihaveno choice and if I want really nice stuff I go to North Conway NH.

Lolochuck
Guest
I agree Jamie! I think small business needs to advertise more and offer some incentive to get people into their stores. I am sure it is very hard competing with stores like Wal-mart. I admit to being a cross border shopper….a regular one at that. Working part time(not by choice….ya I’m English), tax this, tax that…..sorry I have to make ends meet and if that means going to the U.S., well that is where I’ll be heading. Why should I pay more when I don’t have to? Our government has not responded to any of my personal email on anything… Read more »
Mary Anne Pankhurst
Member

One thing certain local businesses could do – especially for regular customers – is say thank you. One business, with whom I’ve spent thousands of dollars, acts as though, each time I’m there, it’s the first. So when met with that unsmiling neutrality last week, I drove to Alexandria and made my purchase there.

jules
Guest
An excellent article Jamie. I used to be on a forum (American) and a Canadian lady who now lives in the US said to all of us that in Vermont where she now lives they refused to have a Wal Mart store there because it takes away the business from the small business people. I prefer the small stores and the sales people cater to you a lot more easily. We have problems when we go to big box stores like Future Shop to get help except for when Raoul is working. He is from Peru and quite the salesman.… Read more »
jules
Guest
Cornwall used to have good shoe stores like Nymans, Clarke and even Assaly. Nowadays people are going to Wal Mart aka Slave Mart because everything is made in China and places like that where they just throw the shoes away when they are no longer good instead of repairing them. There used to be a shoe repair near Nymans on Pitt Street and we used to go there and repair our shoes. This man was Syrian or Lebanese origin and I will tell you all a funny thing that happened to my husband. My husband was just first in Canada… Read more »
Darcy Neal
Member
The open competitive free enterprise market system, that consist of environmental factors such as Peoples, Products, Places, Promotions, Prices and Profits, is the best means of achieving economic prosperity for an individual, a business and a community. This spontaneously controlled market order system provides equally of opportunities to earn the trust, respect and loyalty of the ultimate decision maker, the buyer. This system also keeps the ultimate purchasing power in the hands of the private money spenders. We vote with our money and we will share our limited money with those individuals, businesses and communities that best cater to our… Read more »
Half in the Bag
Guest

I was in the Town of Montreal West recently which has one main shopping street like Pitt St. There is a well-signed municipal parking lot with room for about 30 cars. Parking is free for two hours!
Imagine if the city parking lot northwest of the library was free for two hours? There would be a lot more customers strolling on Pitt. Instead the downtown gang are trying to merge that area and Le Village into Centretown. What nonsense!

MR. MAGOO
Guest
As an old “fart”, I find that the downtown businesses, in general are always looking for that silver bullet, to bring droves of customers to them ! They are looking for outside interests, to latch onto (festivals, buskers, Lamoureux Park, etc) to promote THEIR businesses. It is they, that have to promote THEIR businesses, so that people want to come to their shops. People will travel across town to go to a specific shop-store, why, because they sell – serve the best “whatever”, pricing in some cases are irrelavant, also, they are polite, friendly, and provide the service. If, I… Read more »
MR. MAGOO
Guest

Couldn’t agree more with you Jamie, however, the key word in your comment was “GOOD” ! lol

Half in the Bag (2)
Guest

Jamie is concerned about seeing Walmart here full of shoppers and the adverse affect it has on small businesses in this area.
I worked there within the past five years, and the Brookdale Ave. store was having gross sales per year of $88 million and net profit of $8 million on average.

Half in the Bag
Guest

Jamie worries about Walmart here being full of shoppers and the affect on small local stores. When I worked there in the past five years, the Brookdale Ave. store was posting numbers in one year like gross sales of $88 million, with a net profit of $8 million.

jules
Guest
I remember my mother and I stopping into Riley’s Bakery when I was little and she would buy doughnuts there. I would look at the machine that made the doughnuts. You sure brought back one good memory. There was another bakery shop owned by a Dutch fellow and that was good as well and I had my wedding cake decorated by him. You couldn’t get me to shop in the US no matter how cheap the price. I rarely ever shopped in the US and never wanted to. I am Canadian and prefer to support my own people. If you… Read more »
Mary Anne Pankhurst
Member

Retail aside, one of Cornwall’s best offerings is its tradespeople – plumbers, roofers, carpenters, landscapers, electricians etc. They’re proud, fair, excellent and great to deal with.

Mary Anne Pankhurst
Member

It’s easy to crap on WalMart. But we should remember it is one of the few businesses that does not discriminate against its employees, whether by gender, age, language, disability, looks, colour, creed or family name. And if you’re in the Cornwall WalMart, look around. You’ll see people that have worked there all their working lives; decent, hard-working people in my opinion. I always try to show them the utmost of respect.

jules
Guest
Yes Cornwall does have some very good trades people indeed. I always encourage people to do into the trades and I mean that folks. Not everyone is made for university and they find that out only when it is too late and too many debts that they can’t pay back in their lifetime. People with a good trade can make as much as a doctor and sometimes more. There is a very good electrician in Cornwall by the name of Barry Latreille and we had him to do some work for us when we owned our house in Cornwall. He… Read more »
Ed
Member

Walmart does seem to be the standard by which MacJobs are judged. Globalization and Free Trade have us in a race to the bottom for the “working class”. Since the Strub’s pickle factory got bought out by Bick’s a few months ago, Canadians have to buy their pickles from China or the US! The last canning company in Ontario shut down last summer, so all our canned veggies also come from away. With little to no manufacturing jobs left, maybe we will be forced to take in each others laundry. In the meantime, let’s argue about language rights.

Eric
Guest
We need business to supply many jobs and items needed or wanted. We have government levels taking money from the business and workers to provide services we ask for well beyond the core itesms of safe clean streets, justice and health. We need to find a better balance between what the government takes and uses, and with what taxpayers (consumers) have left to spend. People want to help balance their check books and the present cycle is not helpful locally in communities near borders. Admin, speaking of closing a street. I would like to see a section of business groups… Read more »
Eric
Guest

Ed, language rights are involving alot of money that could otherwise be used to charge less tax.

jules
Guest
Globalization = slavery. This is all planned for a mighty long time. All our jobs are gone overseas to people who work for a fraction of the price. Doctors complain about their salaries when they are well where they are even with a little cut. Teachers should be cut down since education is in the toilet. People who have a good vision about making business don’t need this trashy education. They need the drive and a little money to invest. The problem is that the powers that be “I am not talking about Cornwall’s crap that think that they own… Read more »
jules
Guest
You know what closing of a street is an excellent idea and have merchants come out and display their wares. The small businesses are greatly affected by the big box stores. My parents always dealt with the little hardware store on Pitt Street near Second Street and my tongue is tied just now and it starts with S – oh Snetzingers hardware. I bought some things from them in past years. There used to be Kytes bookstore and so many nice small businesses. I much prefer the small hardware stores. I only went twice to Home Depot here in Ottawa… Read more »
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