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Chamber Backs “Think Local First’ Plan

By: Frank McTighe – Editor, Fort Macleod Gazette

July 10, 2013

Fort Macleod Chamber of Commerce will join a regional initiative to get people to shop locally.

Chamber president Terry Daniel and past president Srecko Ponjavic learned last month of the Pincher Creek’s “Think Local First” campaign.  The campaign is designed to promote local business to encourage people to shop locally instead of going to the city.  “We felt this was an initiative that could go right across the southwest,” Daniel said.

Daniel and Ponjavic provided an update on the program Thursday during the Chamber’s July luncheon meeting at the Rural Alberta Business Centre.  The two Fort Macleod representatives learned about the “Think Local First” campaign at a regional Chamber meeting in June.  “We thought maybe we could tie this in with Fort Macleod” Daniel said,  Ponjavic agreed.  “Immediately I thought this was very expandable,” Ponjavic said.

The program would consist of “Think Local First” branding and promotional materials such as posters and stickers.  Ponjavic, who is [the] small business advisor at the Rural Alberta Business Centre, has made some recommendations to the Pincher Creek Chamber on how to expand the program.  “I think it looks pretty sharp,” said Ponjavic.

The poster outlines the top 10 reasons for shopping locally:

  1. Shopping locally can save money – Does this mean that it is never worthwhile to shop outside the community?  No.  What it means is travel time, parking, cost of gas, and the fees to transport larger items home can end up being more than you bargained for.
  2. It is good for the environment – Less transportation, lower energy and fuel costs; less excessive packaging...you get the idea.
  3. You help sustain our community – When you start spending at a locally owned business almost 70 percent of that money stays at home and is distributed back into our community.
  4. You would miss local businesses if they were gone – Think not? Imagine if you couldn’t run down the street for gas, groceries, coffee with friends or for that last minute gift.  Take time to appreciate the businesses in our community because odds are you would miss them if they were gone.
  5. You get better service – Local businesses are more likely to provide you with exceptional customer service and are willing to cater to your needs.
  6. Discover a great array of products and services – Many people get out of the habit of shopping locally and then are surprised at the range of products, gifts and services that are found just around the corner.  Give locals a chance first.
  7. Help create more jobs in our community – Local spending has a direct impact on job creation and employment in our community.  Small local businesses are a large employer nationally and in our community, providing most of the jobs to residents.
  8. Improve community investment – Local businesses are way more likely to support our community groups and organizations.  Think about who supports your kids’ sports team or school.  Odds are they are businesses right here at home.
  9. Shopping, living and playing locally keeps our tax dollars here – Shopping locally means less corporate infrastructure, and more money left available to enhance our community.  By spending locally, your tax dollars are reinvested where they belong; right here at home.
  10. Protect your property values – No one wants to live in a community where there are no businesses or recreational activities.  When you choose to spend locally you support the infrastructure that makes other people want to call our town home.  For you this means your local home or property has greater value.

“The main goal is to get another touch, another presence in the community,” Ponjavic said.  “Thi idea is to think local first.”  Ponavic will work with the Chamber to roll out the program in the fall.

”I think this is a good idea,” Chamber member Sharon Lecocq said.

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Aetna, Beaver Mines, Burmis, Cardston, Carway, Chief Mountain, Claresholm, Cowley, Fort Macleod, Glenwood, Granum, Hill Spring, Leavitt, Lundbreck, Mountain View, Pincher Creek, Pincher Station, Stavely, Twin Butte, and Waterton