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Saskatoon pushing people to shop local this holiday season

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Saskatoon pushing people to shop local this holiday season
WATCH: The Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce is pushing people to shop local this season with their Shop Local campaign to try and bring needed business to stores amid the pandemic – Nov 16, 2021

With holiday shopping already underway for many, Saskatoon is encouraging gift-getters to buy closer to home.

The Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce is pushing people to shop local this season with their Shop Local campaign.

The Wanuskewin gift shop on Broadway Avenue said they saw more holiday shoppers last year buying local crafts and other items.

This year, the trend is continuing.

“We had a lot of people, anyone that came through that door said, ‘I’m doing my Christmas shopping and I want local,’” said manager Shari Bedient.

The gift shop sells items from close to 100 Indigenous artists across Saskatchewan. With more local sales, those artists are also being supported.

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“Where we used to maybe only purchase 50 of an item from them, we’re now purchasing 100 to 200 from them, so that’s making a big difference,” said Bedient.

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The chamber of commerce is pushing Saskatoon residents to pop into a store rather than doing all their shopping online.

“Just a 10-per cent shift in our spending, just 10 per cent can make all the difference in the world,” said CEO Jason Aebig.

“It can help these businesses ultimately recover faster.”

He said buying local puts money back into the economy as businesses struggle to stay open.

“It has a huge impact on jobs and hiring, on incomes, on support for community groups and events,” he said.

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However, buying local can also have its challenges, according to Jason Childs, an associate professor in economics at the University of Regina.

“Locally, you’re going to get more unique products unique to your space,” he said.

“The downside is you’re going to probably pay a little more and you’re not going to have the variety you might want. You might not be able to find the exact item you’re looking for.”

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Saskatoon gift shop sells orange shirts to support residential school survivors

Childs said more people were shopping online amid the pandemic. It’s a trend he said he expects to continue, with people buying more commercial and everyday products online.

“These other non-commoditized products, the products that tend to be a little more unique, have a little more handmade value. That kind of thing, those are going to come more locally and you’re going to see more local activity around that kind of stuff,” he said.

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For businesses like Wanaskawin gift shop, they say they’re encouraged by the number of people already shopping local to fill their holiday lists.

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