Shift 10 you say? Only 10% for Shopping Locally? Meh! by Jamie Gilcig

Shift 10 you say?  Only 10% for Shopping Locally?   Meh!  by Jamie Gilcig

jg2CFN – I always marvel at how we humans communicate?   The concept of Shop at Home is critical and something that always is important to any community; but there are also barometers.

For example should we spend $25 for a book that we can buy online for $5?  If you own a small book store the answer might be yes, but the false economy in that issue is that if the person ordered the book for $5 they’d have $20 to spend going to the local theatre.

The South Stormont Chamber of Commerce is leading the way in the region with a new initiative called Shift 10.    I think it’s utterly ridiculous, and frankly, confusing.   The amount of energy and resources to explain it to the public would far outstrip the benefits.

10% isn’t enough.  The goal should always be to spend 100% locally where the product and service is available.  It’s also funny that those that usually scream the loudest for these initiatives rarely live up to them themselves.   Ask if our own governments do even?    For example is Winterfest here in Cornwall using our world class Sound company or hiring out a firm from Ottawa that may employ the city councilor on the Winterfest committee?

As a consumer there are many reasons to buy locally; freshness, quality, keeping costs down by not having to travel for goods or waiting for delivery of services.    The problem is that many small mom and pop shops lose perspective and realize that while many people want to shop locally they also don’t want to spend double the price or more; and when they walk into a merchant they’d like good service and options.

Is the real core issue though people shopping outside of their community or shopping at big box stores like Wal-Mart?   Again, it’s a free market; but many small businesses simply cannot compete with monster stores with more open hours, more staff, more variety, and yes, lower prices.

Asking people to “Shift 10%” of their spending to me sounds more like asking for charity or guilting people into spending some money locally instead of competing to the point where people want to shop locally more often.

In our area we do have some great merchants with interesting shops and services.    They, like all businesses face competitive pressures.     Instead of confusing the public by sending messages to shift spending perhaps they can instead focus on sharing how great some of our local businesses are and helping those not aware discover them?

The good news is that this group is at least in their humble if misguided way heading in the right direction.    What do you think dear viewers of CFN?  What are your “local” shopping habits?    Do you try and spend more locally and what do you consider local?    You can post your comments below.

As for Ms Primeau; it’s good to see more women getting into politics and we wish her well on her journey of running for council in South Stormont.  It should be interesting to see what else she stands for besides getting the public to shift only 10% of their spending locally…

The first meeting of the Economic Development Officers Working Group for 2014 was held this past week at the North Stormont Municipal Office in Berwick.  Part of this meeting included a passionate introduction to the Shift 10% campaign, lead by champions Kim Stewart, Shift 10% Coordinator, and owner of Stokefire; and Donna Primeau, South Stormont, Chamber of Commerce President and owner of Showcase in the Long Sault Plaza.

 

Shift 10% Back to Local is a campaign designed to remind the public about the benefits of supporting their locally owned businesses. Campaign advocate Kim Stewart believes that by actively shifting 10 per cent of shopping to local businesses, the whole community will benefit.  “The advantage is that we are their neighbours, we are the ones who support their son’s and daughter’s minor sports, donate to community fundraisers, and hire youth from the neighbourhood” said Stewart.

 

“The South Stormont Chamber of Commerce (SSCC) has started to develop a 36 month campaign with a primary goal of increasing the profiles of local businesses,” stated Donna Primeau. There is no charge to participate in the program, only the commitment to be an ambassador of the Shift 10% campaign.  SSCC has been presenting across Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry with the hopes that local business owners will support the Shift 10%  campaign.  “You do not have to be a Chamber of Commerce member to participate in the program – we want Shift 10% to become region wide – and in the future be recognizable throughout eastern Ontario,” added Stewart.

 

SDG Economic Development and Communications Officer Terry Besner sees great potential in this grass roots movement.  “By supporting the Shift 10% program both businesses and consumers will benefit. The economic growth will strengthen existing businesses, encourage expansion, and foster entrepreneurial spirit locally,” concluded Besner.

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Celebrate South Stormont

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