In my last blog I talked a lot about the economy. I highlighted some ideas we have and now council is working on strategies to highlight the most important ones and come up with an action plan. I did also mention the role we play as consumers and wanted to expand on that a little.
I had a conversation the other day with a resident who said that often they buy their products in Edmonton or order online because its cheaper or there is more selection. Although I am sure we are all guilty of it, I don’t think we often recognize just what kind of impact that has. When the economy is strong, people have jobs, there is more disposable income, and donations are easier to get for the groups that support them. So what can we do as a consumer? Well the first thing we can do is when spending money, do whatever we can do to make sure it gets spent here. How does that help? In many ways actually, first off the more we shop here, the busier our economy becomes. When businesses are busy they get better buying power that affects what we pay for the cost of goods. They increase their selection to meet the consumer’s needs. Transportation becomes cheaper and easier based on the amount of goods being ordered. These businesses get busier and create more jobs, they may even expand. If the economy is busy, new entrepreneurs are more likely to start their businesses further increasing our selection of options here locally.
Slave Lake is also a community that is what it is today due largely to the numerous organizations and people who volunteer to make it better. Whether it's dance, hockey, soccer, scouts, Taekwondo, the Arts community, figure skating, Victim Services, Northern Haven or others, community financial support for these organizations is key to their survival. One of the saddest things to see is when someone goes to Edmonton to buy their vehicle because it was few dollars cheaper, and then shows up at the local dealership asking for support for their child’s local sports team and then upset when the business is unable to help.
If we want to increase selection often simply talking to the business owners to say this is a product I would like to buy but you currently don’t have can influence what businesses have available. Another thing I like to do when making large purchases is before making a trip to the city I let the business owner know that I have found a product they sell cheaper elsewhere. I would like to buy it from them but the price difference is making me consider going somewhere else. They won’t always be able to match or beat it, but if they can come closer to the number, I can feel good about what I paid and still support the businesses locally that I in turn expect to support me. Mathematics in the end is quite simple. When I spend a dollar here in town, the likelihood of that business re-spending that dollar here on someone else is quite good. When I spend it outside the community the chances of that dollar being spent back in the community is pretty small. In the end we only have so much money and we work hard for it. I am not encouraging people to spend more, I am simply saying every time we spend a dollar we should try first to support the people who support us, because for many reasons its in our best interest.