Why can’t we have more retail in Town?

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

2017-11-08T10:43:17-06:00November 8, 2017|Council Matters, From Mayor and Council|


  1. Robin Gervais November 13, 2017 at 10:53 am - Reply

    This statement made by our Mayor and council does nothing to address the issue of out of town shopping. The hardest thing on small retail in this town is Freson Brother corporate pricing. As long as residents can save $400 to $500 per month buying groceries out of town, residents will continue to shop out of town and also pick up all their sporting goods, clothing and hardware.
    So instead of Mayor and council lecturing residents on how to spend their hard-earned money, maybe they should start a conversation with Freson Brothers Corporate. If residents could get a 25% discount on all purchases anytime, then maybe residents could afford to shop locally and truly address this issue.

  2. Edward King November 22, 2017 at 12:16 am - Reply

    I disagree with this view. People like to think that the mark up on food at the grocers is extremely high. It really isn’t. A 25% discount on groceries, for the most part, would mean that IGA would be selling most of their good to local residents at cost or even less. I respect and regard the convenience of Freson Brothers IGA and although I do not always purchase my groceries there the lions share of my food budget is spent there. This does not trouble me much considering all the events that Freson Brothers sponsor and support. Freson Brothers puts money back into the community, provides employment opportunities for local residents, and, although not necessarily being the most affordable source, provides us with a local store offering much needed food and produce. Our local IGA has been very charitable and is very connected to our community. If food prices are an issue (and I agree that they are) we need to look beyond this model to root out the source of the problem, which is essentially our economy.

  3. Lynda Mercer November 22, 2017 at 12:27 am - Reply

    Well said Robin <)

  4. Louis Beloin November 30, 2017 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    It doesn’t stop at the IGA, our gas prices are ALWAYS high.
    Seems like the retailers in this town know that the majority of their customers are going to be oilfield and know they will pay no matter what the price, we as residents of this town will NEVER see this cycle change, it’s not fare to us, but please don’t blame me for shopping else where because of the retailers currently in town that take advantage of this price gouging!

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