Calgarians encouraged to avoid big box stores, shop locally this holiday season
CALGARY -- Some of Calgary's destination neighbourhoods are on board with a campaign to promote holiday shopping at local businesses, as holiday markets also promote local vendors.
The owners of Kent of Inglewood and Knifewear say customers get a unique shopping experience in shop that can't be replicated online or at big box locations.
"It's easier and it's more fun, right? You can come to a store like this, and you can smell the fragrance. You can hold the razor in your hand so you actually know what you're buying; It's not just a picture that you've clicked on," said Kevin Kent.
Kensington shopkeepers say some of their customers have made a conscious effort to support their local economy, especially as Calgary continues to experience a downturn.
"Nobody wants to see independent business go away. They want to support business, because if a business doesn't survive, the community doesn't survive," said Jim Campbell in In Gear on Kensington Road.
The City of Calgary has even launched a #BuyLocalYYC.
The hashtag provides social media support and promotion to indepdent businesses, largely in inner-city neighbourhoods.
"We have to get into the habit of looking after one another. We have to get into the habit of being the first client for a new business or a start-up business right here in Calgary so that they can grow," said Mayor Naheed Nenshi to reporters after Budget 2020 was passed on Nov. 29.
"That will have way more impact on business survival than anything the City is capable of doing."
Market Collective has promoted local artisans and makers at its annual events for the past 11 years.
While distinct from the City's campaign, founders say the market was designed to support Calgary's local artists and to promote one-of-a-kind goods as gifts.
"It's a beautiful experience getting to know the person who actually made the thing that you're (buying), because we're so disconnected from that," said Angel Guerra, co-founder of Market Collective.
Event organizers expect to see 20,000 people over the course of the three weekends at the BMO Centre, an increase from last year's attendance.
Calgary-based skin-care company Routine has expanded to stores across the globe, and credits the support of Market Collective.
"We launched with just four deodorants and they sold out in that first weekend and Calgary just supported us through and through. From that one market, our products got into stores all across Canada and it just snowballed from there," said Pippa Blair, co-founder of Routine.
The City of Calgary is also running a website called Calgary's Comeback to highlight the ways it's working to help the economy recover.