Could there be a silver lining to the global supply chain issues expected over the holiday shopping season? Local businesses hope so.
“Christmas being cancelled because of supply chain issues doesn’t really affect you when you’re shopping local,” said Vikki Wiercinski, lead organizer with the Royal Bison arts and crafts fair.
“You’re really lucky that there’s a whole bunch of people who live in the same city as you do who make really beautiful, giftable items and they make them right here. And they usually buy their supplies locally.
“There is a lot to give and a lot to get locally. As a craft fair, and as makers in Edmonton, we got you,” Wiercinski said.
“I don’t think Christmas is cancelled. It might be nice to try giving something unique and local this Christmas instead. We feel fine about it. We don’t think Christmas is cancelled at all.”
The global bottlenecks and delays are hobbling factories, ports and warehouses around the world, and will likely impact the holiday shopping rush.
Some of the items expected to be especially hard to come by are toys, electronics, Christmas trees, decor and sneakers.
Logistics experts are warning world trade may not return to normal until well into 2022. Several companies are announcing price increases to cope with added costs. Given that, consumers may need to resort to some alternative tactics this year.
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Wiercinski hopes shoppers consider buying local for a number of reasons.
“Local businesses have been in very trying times the last year and a half. And the smaller the business, I think the harder it’s been.
“To shop local, to shop at an independently-owned store that is also part of the Edmonton community and carries makers’ and designers’ work that is made here in Edmonton, it’s like a double-whammy. If you’re supporting both of those at once, the dollars that you’re spending are staying way closer to the community you live in, they’re supporting small businesses and they’re supporting families.
“You’re supporting real people in your own community when you shop local and when you buy local products,” she added.
The Royal Bison fair is back in person this year for two weekends (Dec. 3-5 and Dec. 10-12) in a venue in the Strathcona neighbourhood. The fair is also offering online sales from Nov. 26-Dec. 12.
“The Royal Bison has about 150 makers this season,” Wiercinski said. “There’s going to be hand-made ceramics, there’s going to be art and illustration prints for your walls, really cool hand-made jewelry, there’s leatherworking, there’s woodworking, there’s home goods.
“If you need holiday cards, there’s lots of designers who are making paper goods. It’s a really, really special kind of art gallery of what’s going on in Edmonton right now.”
Another perk? Shoppers won’t have to worry about long waits or shipping delays, Wiercinski said.
“You’ll be ordering products online that are probably stored a couple neighbourhoods away from you.
“Any store that is locally owned and isn’t a chain will sincerely appreciate support this Christmas, especially because of how affected retail has been through the pandemic,” she added.
“Shop local in whatever way works for you.”