“In a global marketplace, it’s become easy to forget the positive impact our dollars have when spent close to home. Small businesses are our economic backbone, they create jobs, funnel funds back to the community, keep decision-making power localized, and generally contribute to building healthy, thriving neighbourhoods”.

This is the message created by Shop the Neigbourhood – a free national initiative of Yellow pages. It is also an initiative that is designed to help with the “noise” aimed at consumers by the American tradition of Black Friday.

How do you convince people to continue shopping locally, despite the temptations to head across the border or shop online. To add to it, the infiltration of American retailers here in Canada has caused the same stress to larger Canadian retailers – take note of how many longstanding Canadian chain stores are closing their doors. Black Friday is a tradition based on American Thanksgiving just like Boxing Day is a tradition based on Christmas. Will this change here in Canada? Will we start to base our buying and budgeting based on this American practice? I hope not but it is a force to reckon with, and consumers have choices to make.

Last year, Downtown Burlington embraced Shop the Neighbourhood by creating a social media campaign having customers write down reasons they “love their hood” on a chalkboard and sharing them, and by engaging the local businesses to offer some added incentive to consciously Shop the Neighbourhood the last Saturday of November. This initiative won them one of three cash prizes given to BIAs across the GTA! These funds are being used to add more benches to the downtown core.

Dan Bishop from Scrivener’s was invited to speak at the recent launch for this year’s Shop the Neighbourhood event, coming up Saturday, November 29. Dan spoke for many independent retailers when he said “it is not part of our business culture to be discounters, so we had to think outside of the box for our Shop the Neighbourhood offer”. For every Robert Graham shirt sold that day, Scrivener’s donated $100 to the Carpenter Hospice – raising $2500, creating a positive buzz for their customers and for the community. Scrivener’s will be featuring this event again this month on November 29.

Other local business will have a variety of offerings to create a sense of community spirit and to inspire shopping the neighbourhoods. This supports business owners and the community at large. Shop the Neighbourhood on Saturday, November 29 – get out and meet your local business owners. Visit shoptheneighbourhood.ca for details.

Joelle Goddard-Cooling and her husband Jeff Cooling are the owners of Joelle’s and Jeff’s Guyshop and are partners with Lou Frasca and Dan Bishop at Scrivener’s Men’s Apparel. All three businesses are located on Brant Street in Downtown Burlington

Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

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