SPIN MY RIDE: Cheering for the local team

I’m James Durand and I’m Going’ Riding’…

By James Durand

I’m sure many of you are Canucks fans, but if you’re more of an NFL or NBA fan, we don’t have a local team and I would bet that many of you go to the next best local team. Maybe the Seahawks or the Raptors.

It’s natural to want to cheer for the locals, or the next best thing.

I had a sales rep at Swicked the other day who also lives in a smaller B.C. community. He was relating his frustration at consumers lack of knowledge, or lack of caring, when it comes to shopping local.

He feels that most consumers don’t relate how shopping out of town, or worse, out of country, affects our economy, and our communities.

His big concern is the loss of some smaller local businesses and then, the loss of any expertise from specialty shops.

In his career he gets paid whether a small store survives or not, since his salary comes from a global company that can sell locally, or through any online retailer. His opinions are more patriotic, than money based. He enjoys his smaller town and without some support, the town will suffer, as will many across Canada.

His biggest rant of the day was about three different municipal employees he rides with in his town.

They shop almost exclusively online. These individuals get paid strictly from local tax revenue then turn around and spend their locally-earned money anywhere in the world that saves them a buck or two.

Having said all this, he is still a realist and does not have endless funds, so he has a procedure when he shops.

#1 – Support specialty retailers as much as possible. In many cases this costs him no extra over bigger global retailers, but when there is a cost difference, he sets a limit of 10-15% depending on the size of purchase. He feels this is a fair cost to support his local economy and community.

He realizes what these retailers do for the community with events, sponsorship, and expertise.

#2 – If the cost savings is greater than his 15 per cent threshold, or maybe it’s a variety issues. He now goes to a bigger retailer that is B.C.-focussed. London Drugs for instance, is B.C.-owned and employs many in each location, thus supporting staff, and paying local and Provincial taxes.

#3 – Next step is a Canadian-owned company. Maybe it’s not helping out the local town as much, or even B.C. outside of staff in each store, but it is still Canadian and therefore something is coming back to us.

He didn’t really have further steps, because he can find anything he needs in the first three steps, but he is adamantly not throwing his money at Walmart, Amazon, or it’s bike industry equivalent, Chain Reaction.

These huge and growing companies are obviously good at pumping out volume, they have good variety, and have become billionaires along the way, but what has it done for your community.

My buddy doesn’t expect, nor do I, for everyone to spend every dollar locally, but if more of us at least tried local first, you might, just maybe, see some benefits for your local community, your neighbours, and your family.

When was the last time you saw Amazon sponsor your kids hockey team, or Chain Reaction put on a local bike race or organize a group ride.

I’m James Durand and I’m Going’ Riding’…