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Mayor’s Column – October 19, 2016

October 19, 2016

Buy local or bye, bye local. That was the message to which I tuned in at the Business2Business Expo sponsored by the South Peace EDC in Dawson Creek last Wednesday. Altogether a fascinating event in every respect that held my attention for the day. Too bad more of you couldn’t have attended. It was intended to inspire us with the potential for local business to pollinate itself and generate more prosperity over the long term than the big business that so easily get our juices running.

Not that we should scorn big business. To the contrary. Big business produces much of the material, machines, and stuff that we use from day to day. You know: cars, busses, shotguns, bubble gum. Still, we need to create and support the environment that will maximize the potential for locally owned businesses and services to put down roots and prosper. We need to create an entrepreneurial community mindset and in the process maximize local self reliance.

I’m not a fan of the big-box stores. You name them; I won’t. My inclination is to stay out of them and as far away as possible. I see them as damaging to local business that serves the community as part of the community and plows its profits back into the community.

Where do you suppose the big-store profits fly once you have swiped your plastic and bagged your goods? Certainly not back into your community like the locally owned profits. Yet how prone we humans are to make our purchasing decisions based on the so-called savings we retain to spend on something else.

And maybe, just maybe, if only half of those who spend their bucks out of town were to spend them locally the hone-grown merchants would have the funding to increase inventory and place themselves in a more competitive position.

I am convinced that Chetwynd has the capacity to support a number of entrepreneurs that, today, are still sitting on their hands. Years ago I was inspired by a clothing store that is still prospering in 100 Mile House. I believe a store of like quality to the 100 Mile House store could thrive in Chetwynd. Nobody picked up on my suggestion at the time and my wife was involved in her own retail adventure – now in its third iteration under a different name and ownership and an example of a small enterprise that meets a local need – so we had to let the idea lapse.

A high-end, pre-owned-auto dealership could put rubber on the local roads and money in the pockets of the business person with guts to stick out her neck and do it.

We are still missing a number of the professions and trades. Come on people, where are you?

Chetwynd is a lovely diversified-economy community with enormous potential for business in a delightful setting at affordable prices. We have much to offer in quiet enjoyment with schools, a college, health services, a recreation facility that is the envy of all, access to the wilderness, mountains, lakes, and rivers, and so much more. As a young community the potential for growth is all before us.

Why not free your entrepreneurial spirit to take you where you’ve never been before?


Merlin Nichols, Mayor