During the recent election campaign one of the questions frequently asked was, “why can’t we have more retail in Town?”

Over the years we have had a small department store, sporting goods stores, clothing stores, variety stores, a dress shop two grocery stores, a movie theatre, just to name a few.

Businesses come and go for a good number of reasons, but the primary reason is that they are not profitable. To become profitable they must be supported by the community. Businesses in small towns face an up hill battle. They do not have the luxury of large bulk purchases that lower their costs and they have a very limited clientele to purchase their merchandise. They have to rely on providing good service, convenience and customer loyalty.

Small businesses are one of the cornerstones of small towns. The owners are usually big boosters of the community and provide far ranging support for the town, from donations and sponsorships, to venues for assorted activities.

Doug Griffin in his book, Thirteen Ways To Kill Community, details how every dollar spent locally has a multiplayer effect of seven, meaning that that money is circulated around the community seven more times . Money spent externally has little likelihood of coming back to the community.

Ask yourself how many stores in Whitecourt, Grande Prairie or Edmonton support local Minor Sports, donate to your function or invest in other community activities.

Yes, some merchandise costs more locally, but take into account your time, mileage and gas to shop out of town, it counts.

As our retail outlets expand, think about it. For major purchases give the locals a chance to price match.

If we want local retail to survive we have to support them.

Mayor and Council