‘Tis the season to support local business

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As we come to the busiest shopping period of the year, both provincial and municipal governments are encouraging people to support local business. This season is an important and critical time for small businesses, and shopping locally, whether in-store or online, can have tremendous impact in securing the futures of these businesses.

The Ontario government have issued a statement urging residents to use this Christmas season to put their money into their community by shopping locally.

“Ontario’s small businesses are essential to our economy, our communities and our way of life,” said Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.

“This has been a year unlike any other, but we can help keep our local businesses in business by choosing to spend our dollars in our communities, purchasing creative and unique gifts from local artisans, ordering takeout from our favourite restaurants, buying gift cards and supporting our local markets. Supporting local business today, means we’re helping them to see a brighter tomorrow.”

Many businesses may not survive the pandemic, but they deserve all the help we can give them. Owners have taken steps to continue operating in spite of restrictions, some by placing more emphasis on on-line opportunities for customers, and others by establishing safe and distanced set-ups in their stores. It is also worth remembering, when it comes to choosing your holiday gifts, that local stores and businesses can often offer the kind of locally-made products not easily available elsewhere. These can make special, often unique, gifts for family and friends at home and away.

“Now more than ever in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, it’s important to shop locally and support the businesses that work so hard to serve our communities,” said Jim McDonell, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. “Let’s give the gift of shopping local this holiday and make wishes come true for small businesses this holiday season and into the New Year.”

There is also opportunity to support their community restaurants and bars by ordering takeout and purchasing gift cards. Last month, Ontario introduced the Supporting Local Restaurants Act, 2020 that will temporarily reduce fees charged by food delivery companies in areas where indoor dining is prohibited to help more small and independent restaurants stay in business.

The Township of North Dundas places great value and pride in our local businesses. Township CAO, Angela Rutley, informed the Times of some of the initiatives to support local entrepreneurs:

“We have been reaching out to them and trying to help them through this unprecedented time.

Our Economic Development and Communications Officer, Stephen Mann, made hundreds of calls to local businesses to find out how they were doing and if they were experiencing any challenges. He provided resource and government funding information to them to assist with challenges as appropriate. And he regularly emailed businesses as funding updates and additional resources became available to help connect them with available resources.”

The Township also created a COVID page on their website, with information and resources available to businesses and residents. Mayor Fraser posted videos on the Township website and Facebook page, updating residents during the pandemic and stressing the importance of supporting our local businesses.

These are just a few of the steps taken by North Dundas to create a positive economic environment. The rest is up to us. We can choose where to shop, how much support to give the businesses that are the backbone of the local economy, and a sector which the voluntary organisations often depend upon for sponsorship and donations.

This year, we can make a real and dramatic difference in simple ways, and perhaps save some of our friends and neighbours from having to close their doors permanently in 2021.

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