Watch above: In Canada, thousands got up early to save the big bucks on Black Friday. Amber Rockliffe reports a local event, Shop the Neighbourhood, is trying to steer customers away from big box stores and into small Saskatoon businesses.
SASKATOON – A local event is trying to steer customers away from big box stores and into small businesses. On Saturday, Saskatoon’s business improvement districts teamed up with local stores for the ‘Shop The Neighbourhood’ event.
“To essentially be able to get a whole bunch of businesses on board, there are more than a hundred deals offered. We’ve got plenty of per cents off your purchase,” said Marchildon.
Earlier this month, the Saskatchewan NDP introduced legislation to name the first Saturday of every month ‘Buy Local Day’, to encourage people to shop at small businesses.
Read more: Sask NDP propose ‘Buy Local Day’
The advocacy group Sasklandia says $73 of every $100 spent at a local business stays in the province, compared to $43 from a business outside Saskatchewan.
Andrée Schmiedge’s mother is a founder of the Steep Hill Food Co-op in Saskatoon, created in 1978. She is also one of the store managers.
“People come here and they meet their neighbours, and they know the other members,” said Schmiedge. “A lot of our customers come here for the community feeling and they know we’re going to have good local products here.”
Saskatchewan is home to the second highest number of small businesses per capita in Canada, next to Alberta. According to Industry Canada, there are over 38,000 small businesses in Saskatchewan.
Despite all the hype over online shopping, business improvement districts in the province say many are still choosing to support local shops like Co-op.
“I think it’s about the experience. The face-to-face, in-store experience with someone on the other side of the till who’s the business owner and they’re passionate about what they’re selling,” said Executive Director Sarah Marchildon, Broadway business improvement district.