Support Downtown, Shop Local
“When you buy from a small business, you’re not helping a CEO buy his 3rd home. You’re helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy his team jersey, moms and dads put food on the table. Shop Local”.
This quote was from a social media post by Dylan’s Burger and Deli, located in our Downtown at 313-5 Street South. This was supplemented with the message “We would not be here without the support of our community. Come downtown and see us. We are here and ready to go. Our downtown needs more support than ever”.
Downtown has been feeling the impacts related to increasing drug use, homelessness, and the overall perception of safety. Consultation is underway aimed at developing a Community Drug Strategy that can be implemented as soon as possible, with the findings of phase 1 being reported to Council today.
In the words of local business owner Hunter Heggie, “Lethbridge’s heart is stressed but it isn’t broken. This is our city. Come shop, eat, and use the services in our Downtown”. Whether it’s a hard-to-find vinyl record, a stunning outfit, delicious candy, or the latest in baby merchandise – you can find it right here at home in our Downtown. The viability of our great downtown businesses depends on people continuing to patronize the Downtown – especially during the holiday shopping season (Yes, it’s that time of year, already!)
There are many community benefits to shopping local, including stimulating the local economy, creating high quality jobs, increasing local investment, creating unique local character, offering superior customer service, fostering cultural diversity, increasing support for community groups, events and charities, and creating vibrancy at the street level which deters negative behaviors.
Did you know that when you shop at a local business, 70 cents for every dollar spent stays in the local economy, compared to 30 cents with a larger chain store, and less than one cent when buying from an online mega-retailer.
Mom-and-pop stores have helped shape the identity of downtown as the Heart of Our City for more than 100 years. This holiday season, we invite the residents of Lethbridge to come together and come Downtown to shop local. And by doing so, you’ll be keeping your locally owned and operated businesses and surrounding community healthy, prosperous and vibrant.
Also be sure to check out the 18th Annual Bright Lights Festival which will kick off the holiday shopping season in Downtown Lethbridge on November 16th in Galt Gardens. Also be sure to check out Christmas at Casa on November 16th and 17th which will feature more than 100 artists and guilds selling one-of-a-kind artisanal wares and artwork. And don’t miss the Galt’s Night at the Museum Shopping event on November 29th.
I challenge every resident to help Our Downtown to be the best it can be. With our partners on the Downtown BRZ and the Heart of Our City Committee, we encourage you to contribute to the content of this column and the video series with your comments, questions, ideas, and suggestions by engaging with us on Twitter (@DowntownLeth) using the hashtag #ourdowntown and at www.getinvolvedlethbridge.ca/ourdowntown.
*This column was published in the Lethbridge Herald on November 5, 2018.