Some positive sides of the pandemic are: the opportunities to spend more time outside enjoying nature; time, if we choose, to read more, to take online courses, to work from home; and perhaps have deeper conversations with our close friends and family. The pandemic has also brought things into focus and taught us to cherish life. As we are forced to slow down and rethink our choices, it has also raised our awareness of our power and our values around what is most important. Now, in month ten of the pandemic, I wanted to talk with you about shopping local.
In the fall, we did a small awareness campaign called SHOP SPR which focused on raising awareness around shopping at the businesses along and connected to Stony Plain Road – SPR. We ran this campaign over ten days around the mega internet shopping event Amazon Prime Days. We concentrated on safer ways that you could support local businesses.
All of our businesses are suffering, and like many of you they are doing what they can to be safe with their families, staff, and their customers. This involves implementing extra cleaning precautions, utilizing personal protective equipment (PPE), and limiting hours of operation with reduced staff. I am so very proud of the resilience of our merchants along SPR, along with their innovation and tenacity. While we have lost some because of COVID-19, many are fighting within a new normal to save their businesses. If you are concerned, call ahead to a business and ask how they can support you to stay safe. Many offer delivery services for free or a low charge. Many can do phone orders, contactless pick-up, and more are also enhancing their online services. We have also partnered with the University of Alberta through the School of Retailing and the City of Edmonton to offer a program called Digital Mainstreet to provide up to ten hours of free support to create and improve businesses online services and platforms. If you are a business within our BA and you want to take advantage of this service, contact us soon.
Shopping local is a powerful tool you can use to help cultivate the type of neighbourhood you live in and nearby. By patronizing business in SPR you support them, and it affords you power to spend your hard-earned money with businesses you care about. For us, Shop Local or SHOP SPR means that we support businesses in our community, from very small local businesses to our chain stores that have also chosen to set up a business location within SPR and provide jobs and services in our community.
December is the month that can ensure many businesses will survive, despite this very tough year. I personally have made a commitment to purchase all of my gifts within my community this year because it is vital. Internet shopping can be easier, but I ask you to reach out to our businesses and shop from home via phone and internet. If you give gift cards from local restaurants, retailers, and services, your ability to spread holiday cheer will triple! Support your community by spending money within your community. Stay safe and enjoy the festive season.
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