Shopping local – discourage community assassination

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In their book titled, “13 ways to kill your community,” authors Doug Griffiths and Kelly Clemmer describe thirteen ways small communities like our own can limit their success, and ensure they crumble into ruins. “Let’s suppose you have a really ambitious goal in life – you want to kill your community!

In their book titled, “13 ways to kill your community,” authors Doug Griffiths and Kelly Clemmer describe thirteen ways small communities like our own can limit their success, and ensure they crumble into ruins. “Let’s suppose you have a really ambitious goal in life – you want to kill your community! You want to drive away people, eliminate jobs, undermine businesses, and you won’t quit until the whole place is in ruins. Here is a handy manual full of proven ideas for the up-and-coming town wrecker,” says the book’s description.
One of the methods the authors highlight for killing small communities is shopping elsewhere. As they explain, dollars spent locally typically go through seven hands before they leave the community, whereas those spent elsewhere are gone for good. Those gone-forever dollars affect the local economy drastically because it can lead to local business closures, job losses, and a large outflow of people leaving the area.
Although local organizations try to encourage residents to support their local businesses, are they missing the mark by approaching the issue from the wrong angle? Sure, explaining how spending money locally promotes our economy and businesses, and essentially ourselves, will do the trick for some people. But are they missing something?
We are the poorest region in Quebec for the last five years in a row, which means that for many Pontiac residents, shopping locally is based on finances. They shop elsewhere because they feel there is a significant cost savings for doing so even after factoring in the cost of travelling. And in some instances, it may be cheaper to drive across the border, there’s no denying it.
And cheaper is attractive, especially when residents are struggling to make ends meet. For these people, the importance of saving their local economy in the long run doesn’t surpass the importance of balancing their cheque book that month.
But the part residents are missing, which is something local organizations standing up for the betterment of our communities should exploit, is that many just assume it is cheaper to shop elsewhere without actually looking into it and comparing the prices. Many believe large chain stores like Walmart, Home Depot, and Loblaws always offer lower prices because they sell to a larger population and  because they purchase their products in larger quantities.
However, this is not always the case and will be proven with a real-life example on this page in the next edition of the Journal. It will show that shopping locally for building materials saved thousands, yes thousands, of dollars compared to a large chain store across the border. And the benefits go beyond just the cost savings. The story will give local organizations some ideas (or suggestions) where they should be directing at least some of their attention and will help residents to think twice before hopping in their vehicles and driving to the closest urban centre. Stay tuned!
Allyson Beauregard, Editor