Watch above: A Yellow Pages initiative is encouraging Montrealers to shop locally this holiday season. Global’s Aalia Adam reports.
MONTREAL – Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday spending, it’s officially the busiest shopping weekend of the year.
While many people tend to flock to shopping malls and big box stores, Yellow Pages Canada is trying to encourage consumers to spend their money locally.
‘Shop the Neighbourhood‘ is a national day of local shopping to help support small businesses and get people to rediscover their neighborhoods.
“It’s a great opportunity for all Quebecers,” said Dany Paradis, Vice-President of YellowPages.
“To encourage people in our town and make sure our city has potential to grow in the future.”
The initiative began in Toronto and has now expanded to Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary.
In Montreal, more than 2000 small businesses participated, from Little Italy to the Old Port and the Main.
“Local merchants are local people, they’re people from the neighbourhood,” Glenn Castanheira from the Société de Développement du Boulevard Saint-Laurent told Global News.
“They care about the area, they give back, they hire people and they invest back into the area.”
Paul Raimundo owns La Vieille Europe grocery store, which has been open on Saint-Laurent boulevard for over 50 years.
He admits business isn’t always easy.
With the holiday season around the corner, local businesses are feeling the pressure.
“By being different we bring in things that other stores don’t have, really making this a destination type of store so that people come here for products they don’t find elsewhere,” he said.
In fact, shopper Judy Curnew has been buying her groceries from La Vieille Europe for over thirty years and refuses to resort to big chain stores like Walmart.
“We really don’t like that kind of experience because its just bland and boring and it’s so much more interesting in places like this,” she said.
A recent StatsCan study states that over $8 billion in Canadian consumer dollars went to the U.S. in 2012 alone.
Although sometimes it may seem hard to resist deals and steals from the big chains, merchants are hoping Montrealers choose to keep their money in the neighbourhood, this holiday season.