Having grown up in Airdrie, I have spent a lot of time in the community and the surrounding area of Rocky View County. I’ve seen the community change over the years and a lot of the local landmarks that I remember growing up are now gone.
Some of you might remember walking around the old Towerlane Mall or the old grain tower that stood as a landmark in downtown Airdrie. The community sure looks different now, and with that change has come a lot of growth. As the community has grown, new businesses have sprouted up across Airdrie and Rocky View County, including a thriving community of local farmers, artisans, and craftspeople.
Local businesses are what set this community apart from others in Alberta and across the country. You can find big box stores in just about every community across Canada, but local businesses and the people that run them give the community interest.
After all, it isn’t the buildings or the large supermarkets that make up a community, but the people who reside there. And a lot of those people are small-business owners who count on the community’s support for their livelihoods.
Over the last year, I’ve seen the COVID-19 pandemic devastate the local business community, and many cherished shops, restaurants, and cafés have closed their doors for good.
While many people are turning to online shopping or buying products in bulk at supermarkets, local businesses are hurting. And even though the government may provide some compensation or financial relief to those hurting, our patronage is what keeps them afloat.
From the local cupcake bakery down the street to the farmer who sells their fresh produce at weekend markets, by supporting local, we can make a difference during this pandemic.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don't always support local. I try to as much as I can, but it is often more convenient and cost-efficient to buy what I need at a brand-name superstore or online.
Last week, I heard the news of one of my favourite breakfast diners closing its doors after the announcement of tightening government restrictions on April 7. That was the last straw for me. I have seen too many people in my community hurt to not put my money where my mouth is.
That is why I have decided to support local, and I hope you will too. You might look to join a local gym – when it is safe to do so – order from a local restaurant or café, purchase a birthday present at a local gift shop, get your car serviced by a local mechanic, or visit the farmers market for some locally grown produce.
Your money spent is likely to go right back into the community that you love. It’s good for you, the environment, and for your neighbour.
Follow me on Twitter @carmenrcundy