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
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