There's no place like (shopping at) home

By Geoff Lee

March 3, 2016 11:25 AM

Ward Read CEO of Lloydminster Economic Development Corporation says businesses need to promote themselves in the downturn to continue to attract local customers and repeat business.

Consider the Lloydminster Economic Development Corporation as a local advice department for businesses and consumers on how to circulate dollars spent in the city.
Its goal is to promote prosperity and economic growth for all businesses and residents with the shop local concept in mind especially in the current economic downturn.
“Shopping locally keeps dollars in the economy,” said Ward Read the corporation’s CEO. “If you spend your dollars in another community you are supporting jobs somewhere else.”
Read notes if you spend money at a local business, that supports local jobs and keeps those Lloydminster businesses strong.
Read can point to study by the University of British Columbia that shows how a dollar spent in a community circulates through the economy.
One of the study’s key findings showed shopping in a locally owned store recirculates 33 cents of   every dollar spent back into the local economy.
The UBC study also showed shopping in a store that’s in a community, but is maybe a franchise owned chain,  circulates about 18 or 19 cents.
Shopping online at sites with vendors such as Amazon only will circulate one cent locally.
Read said Internet shopping is a two-sided coin that is convenient for consumers who shop from home, but it could be a disadvantage for some local businesses.
“That takes all the potential business away from the store, but as well the people who clean the store after hours and the trucking company that brings the inventory to the store,” he said.
“When that dollar leaves the community through online shopping, it’s really an unfortunate thing.”
On the other hand, more and more local e-commerce businesses are popping up to sell goods and services online to consumers in Lloydminster and beyond.
“There’s a number of businesses who have local e-commerce shops in town and they’re doing quite well,” said Katlin Ducherer the corporation’s manager of event and business development. “They’re doing different things that promote the community as well, so you are seeing that mix between bricks and mortar to e-commerce, but still having that local feel.”
Examples are Juxta Boutique (info@shopjuxta.com), Posh & Cozy@outlook.com), Aria’s Closet (info@ariascloset.ca) and Origin Wearables (originwearables@gmail.com).
“The e-commerce portion of businesses can really take a local business to the next level, opening their business to those who really want to shop online, but still shop local,” said Ducherer.
Ward said one of the best things businesses can do to promote local shopping is to advertise to generate repeat sales and awareness.
“I know it can be difficult to continue to spend money on marketing and promotions when the economy is in the state that it is,” said Read.
“But it’s often a good time to do it because then when people are spending they will hopefully spend it in your business to continue to promote it.”
The economic development corporation is also doing its part to attract new businesses and visitors to the city with its event and tourism marketing initiatives.
Ward expects the RBC Cup in May to equal or surpass the economic impact that the 2013 CCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship hosted by Lakeland had on local businesses.
A study by the economic development corporation and the the Canadian Sports Tourism Alliance showed average visitor spending for that three day event to be $163.74 per person.
The total economic activity generated by the event was $833,000 in the province of Alberta, with $533,000 occurring in Lloydminster.
The economic impact of that event on local business led Read to comment at the time, “That’s something worth paying attention to.
“Lloydminster Economic Development would like to be a resource for all community groups and organizations that are thinking about or are submitting bids for future events and sporting activities.”
While the city didn’t win the bid for the Saskatchewan Winter Games, Read expects when the puck drops at the RBC Cup, so will the bucks as they did for volleyball.
“For our local residents and for those who will be visiting Lloydminster from out of town that’s certainly one of the big hopes that we have with an event of that nature,” said Read.
“If we can attract others from out of town to spend their dollars here, then that gives a boost to our economy.”

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