Shop Local — It Builds Community
We’ve all been there. You see an item online; perhaps it was mentioned on a celebrity blog or in a magazine. You place an online order for it and hope that the colour calibration on your computer monitor is accurate. Then there is the uncertainty of shipping charges, tariffs and U.S. exchange rates. And then you wait.
A few highlights from my own online shopping experiences include a clutch that appeared to be a subtle coral colour on my laptop screen but was actually neon pink. There were the earrings that looked tasteful online but were each the size of my hand (and way too heavy to wear). And I’m still waiting on those salad plates that Gwyneth Paltrow recommended and the ominous duties and taxes to come.
Canadians think that we’re saving time and money by shopping online, but very often that’s not the case. That is why it is so important to support our local shops, restaurants and artisans. (An artisan produces something, such as cheese or wine, in limited quantities and often using a hands-on method).
Canadian-Made, Designed or Developed
According to an October 2013 study by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), “a majority of Canadians now make an effort to buy local or Canadian-made products and some are willing to pay a premium.”
If a product is made in Saskatchewan or made in Canada, it’s a big advantage. Canadians also find it to be a benefit if other value chain-related activities — such as design or research & development — are done locally and consider these factors when they make a buying decision.
According to the BDC study, consumers want to buy locally, support homegrown businesses and build relationships within their community whenever they can. Canadians are concerned about the environment, and increasingly aware of sustainability and social responsibility.
“Local shops and restaurants are the lifeblood of our downtown in Regina. When you visit these stores, you get to meet the owner and learn their business. They curate what they sell and are always excited to tell you why they bring specific items in,” says Judith Veresuk, Executive Director of the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District.
All Hail the Farmers’ Market
There is nothing quite like a sunny morning at a farmers’ market. According to the BDC study, most Canadians who decide to buy local produce (things that have been produced or grown, especially by farming) do so for economic reasons. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, 97 per cent of Canadians who buy locally do it to support the regional economy; 96 per cent do it to support local farmers and 93 per cent do it to create local jobs.
Growing in popularity over the past decade, the locavore movement emphasizes a diet that consists of locally grown or produced food. Eating as a locavore benefits the relationships between food producers, distributors, markets, chefs and consumers. “Our local chefs also tend to shop local — buying produce and proteins from suppliers in Saskatchewan. Local pride is always evident when you shop in our homegrown businesses,” adds Judith.
So next time you’re planning to shop online, think about supporting your local community through shopping and dining in Regina. Remember how it helps the local economy prosper, creates employment and prevents online shopping disasters — like my neon pink clutch.