Small businesses in Stettler on upswing after downturn

Economic times appear to look brighter next year than in the past few years when a global economic downturn and recession hit Alberta locally.

“What we’re being told is that businesses are gearing up for a strong fourth quarter,” said Keith Ryder, executive director of Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Community Development.

“Judging by the inventories in local retail stores, they’re looking pretty optimistic and that follows the forecast for Alberta.”

September and October are traditionally the slowest months of the year for retail sales, particularly during fall harvest for farmers and as consumer start to save for the Christmas shopping season, he noted.

Small businesses appear quite positive about the future in the Stettler area.

“In the Town of Stettler, residential development is up and growth is expected in commercial development,” said Ryder, who served as mayor from 1995 to 2004.

“Looking at our business license file, we have a strong sector of home-based businesses.”

He noted that while downtown Stettler has an increasing number of service-related businesses, the number of retail outlets decreases.

With that, the area has a strong diversity of business to bolster the economy.

“Tourism is a very strong economic benefactor to the local region,” said Ryder.

“Some businesses took a bigger hit with BSE (mad-cow disease) in 2003 than in the current economic downturn.”

“We provide promotional packages to potential investors and assist them will applications,” said Ryder.

“We have long been looking for an investor to fill the old Jiro building and we have provided packages to potential investors.”

As a commercial hub of east central Alberta, Stettler continues to draw consumers from beyond its current borders and expansive trading area while local businesses urge local residents to shop at home.

“We’ve got a strong contingent of 40 participating businesses in our Shop Stettler campaign,” said Ryder.

For more information, phone Stettler Regional Board of Trade at 403-742-3181.