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.

(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.)

Celebrate South Stormont


  1. For marketing and longer term effect, shift 10 is a positive idea at least. We see coupons from various places that might get a few into the stores but fewer of those continue coming back. If they can get the social engineering part going, and the shops can keep up a welcoming front, who knows.
    10% just might be a good start.

  2. The answer to this question is in the text of your article: “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”. We cannot buy locally because of gouging on all levels. Gasoline was $1.20/ltr in Alexandria yesterday and $1.28/ltr in Cornwall……wheres the sense? We simply CANNOT afford it!

  3. Stan, I guess the question is can we afford not to shop locally. The small boutique store, the corner stores, even the local grocery stores not only offer products conveniently but they also add flavor to our communities. Without them we become whoever the big box stores want us to be and then they offer us products that they want to sell us, not what we want to buy. Their profit comes from what they can squeeze out of their suppliers who in turn have to lower wages so they can make enough profit to keep their doors open. You yourself have circulated some of the “Walmartian” pictures. Do you want to see them walking the streets of Cornwall? It’s not a pretty site for the eyes or the economy.

  4. I shop locally or in Quebec for most of what I buy however supplements which I use a lot of.. I buy cross border because first of all there are no taxes on them 13% and secondly I save at least 20% above that on the higher quality ones I usually buy.. Another thing there are no taxes on clothing in Vermont. well that is a big plus.. Most food I buy here as I buy free range chickens etc and can get eggs that are free range also and I trust Farm Boy’s meat more than US meat..

  5. I live in Ottawa and we never cross border not even to Québec to buy what we want. We have everything we want right here in Ottawa and I think that I said that before as well. When we lived in Cornwall we rarely ever went over the border but when we did the US customs officers were very nice but when we came back to Canada we were met with long faces that would crack the mirrors. When we shop here in Ottawa we like good sales people and good cashiers. If people have long faces like a lot of people have today especially among the young we think twice about going back there. We have a great deal of Farm Boys in Ottawa and yes there meat and their veggies and fruits are some of the tops. We don’t mind paying for quality but not to pay for junk. Shopping locally is the best. You pay a great deal more running around for different things than what you would shopping at home unless there is something that you cannot get locally then that would be a different thing. We have everything here from specialty foods to everything else.

  6. Reg
    We must also look at the type of work ethic put forth by todays small businesses.
    I agree they need to earn enough to maintain a good lifestyle, but there is a huge commitment and dedication that is not shown by many small businesses. For the most part it can be unrewarding to some.

    How many local businesses do you believe operate within their means.

    I would be willing to wager the video store in Long Sault could not remain in business of they did not have Sears distribution.
    Stoke Fire has been closed for a good portion of their first quarter. A good idea as many do not shop after Christmas however can they regain the lost revenue from that time? What happens if not with the decline in earnings the previous year will it remain open.
    The restaurant from what I am told does quite well, then again it is the only place that serves full meals in a village with a high senior capacity. What else will the do?
    The others are LCBO and Post Office and government will take care of government.

  7. {MODERATED} John if you don’t want to post using your real name you have to email us your full name, mailing address, and phone number along with the user id you wish to use to

Leave a Reply