With the economic challenges due to the ongoing pandemic, it’s all the more important to ‘Think Local, Shop Stettler’.
That’s the name of this year’s campaign launched by the Stettler Regional Board of Trade & Community Development, said Project Manager Donna Morris.
“Shopping local is important to our economy in Stettler because every dollar spent here is typically ‘re-spent’ up to seven times before it leaves the community,” she explained.
“In another sense, it also goes back into taxes which helps with our infrastructure – roads, libraries, our RCMP departments – these are paid for by the dollars that are spent locally,” she said.
“Our goal this year is to inspire, entertain, and also to educate our consumers and also our businesses on what is local. When we say ‘shop local’, we don’t only mean shop local at a retailer, we also mean when you are looking for an accountant, a lawyer or if you are picking out a new vehicle.
“When you are looking for someone to help out with providing gravel, or cement, or construction, you are still shopping local. It takes on a whole new meaning when you think of it that way.”
Meanwhile, the trend overall appears to support a growing emphasis on supporting local businesses, according to the Board of Trade. “Statistically, we are finding that 33 per cent of Canadians have now increased their local spending habits and 85 per cent commit to continuing this trend following the COVID-19 pandemic,” noted a Board release.
“Twenty-four per cent of shoppers have purchased items from a merchant they have never tried before and more than ever, shopping local online has become the norm.”
Morris said a number of special events are also lined up to further encourage residents to Think Local, Shop Stettler including a ‘Cash Cards Promotion’ which runs through to Dec. 18th.
“Weekly draws will be made starting Friday, November 27th in conjunction with Moonlight Madness. Cash Cards will be picked up every Thursday for the draw to be made the following Friday.”
According to the Board, Cash Cards will be distributed to consumers the same as in past years – one Cash Card entry for every purchase and one additional entry for every $100 spent on that purchase (for example, if the purchase was $237.50, consumer would receive 3 entries).
Also coming up is Moonlight Madness on Nov. 27th.
Morris described the fun-filled event as the unofficial kick-off to the Christmas season in the Stettler area.
“Many of our local stores have sales and promotions and door-stoppers that night. And some of them are considering extending those sales so they may (last) the full week or at least the weekend instead of just the one night.
“That way, if you aren’t comfortable about going out in large crowds that night, just give your local stores a call or pay attention to their advertising because there will be lots of opportunities for getting your shopping finished or started, or buying a few treats for yourself as well!
“We had also talked about closing down a portion of Main Street just for safety because we are having a lot more people attending – it’s grown in size,” said Morris. “But instead of closing down just a portion of Main Street, with social distancing being required this year, we decided to shut down the entire Main Street as well as a portion of 50th Avenue and a portion of 51st Street to allow people to walk and to maintain social distancing,” she said.
“We will also have burn barrels up and down Main Street, tractor trains from the Antique Tractor Club, and hopefully some others, that will be picking up people so they don’t have to walk with their purchases down four blocks to get to their vehicles,” she said.
“We are also looking at entertainment and food trucks – all sorts of stuff will be happening including prize draws and things like that,” she said, adding that Moonlight Madness also features the lighting of the Main Street Christmas tree at 6 p.m. with Mayor Sean Nolls and the 2020 Citizens of the Year (Malcolm Fischer and Karin Phibbs).
Next up is ‘Miracle on 50th’ on Dec. 12th.
“It was something that was started when the Polar Express (began) with Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions. We started Miracle on 50th with them as a way to draw tourism onto our Main Street, and it has grown. It’s grown to the point that we have some more events happening that weekend!
“So far, we have Santa’s Christmas Village with the Animal Haven Rescue League. Children can come in, visit, and purchase a gift. Most will be 10 dollars and under, and those gifts will be wrapped and ready to be put under their trees for their loved ones,” she explained, adding that funds raised will go to support Animal Haven Rescue.
Miracle on 50th also kicks off the annual Twinkle Tour which features a printable map including all businesses and residents wanting to showcase their decorations around the community.
Of course, residents also won’t want to miss out on ‘The Night Before the Night Before’ on Dec. 23rd.
Morris said this this tradition offers the opportunity for businesses to say ‘thank you’ to local consumers for supporting them over the year.
“It also encourages consumers to purchase those last-minute gift items.”
Events also run the gamut run from free movies at the Jewel Theatre to free train rides and free hay rides.
For complete details and links to local participating businesses, check out www.shopstettler.ca.