As Chilliwack residents get ready to dig into their wallets and spend on everything from Christmas gifts to holiday entertaining, the busiest time in retail is fast approaching.
But instead of heading out of town or across the border to make purchases, the Chilliwack Chamber is urging locals to consider the benefits of shopping locally.
Since small local businesses are the biggest employers both provincially and nationally, shopping locally and boosting local businesses' bottom line make sense because it's good for employment, says Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce executive director Patti MacAhonic.
Another benefit of supporting Chilliwack's small local businesses, she said, is that they are more likely to support local events, schools and charities than the larger 'big box' businesses.
By spending locally on Christmas gifts, residents also contribute to the local tax base which in turn improves services that benefit everyone.
Buying from local farmers and producers also means supporting local businesses and providing income for families in the community.
"In a time when many farmers and businesses are struggling to maintain their livelihood, we can do our part to support them while preserving our agricultural heritage," MacAhonic said.
More and more Canadians are getting aboard with local shopping according to an Abacus Data study released last year, and the buy-local movement is no longer a niche market.
Almost seven in 10 Canadians (69 per cent) said they would be willing to pay more money for a meal at a restaurant if all the ingredients were grown locally.
Almost three in four Canadians (74 per cent) said they would be willing to pay more for groceries if a version was available from a local grower or producer, and MacAhonic said restaurants and grocery stores benefit from offering locally grown products- something more and more Chilliwack businesses are doing.
Developing the local economy also helps the environment, she said.
"By reducing the distance food and goods travel, we can reduce carbon emissions and leave a smaller ecological footprint, doing our part to maintain cleaner air and water and to preserve farmland for future generations," MacAhonic said.
For more information on local business, visit www.chilliwackchamberofcommerce.com, email info@ chilliwackchamber.com or call 604793-4323.