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Small Business Week chance to support 'the backbone of the economy'

'These local businesses not only employ your family, friends and neighbours but they also support local charities, athletics and community groups'
Stay Safe Shop Local - Mayor Clarke
Mayor Steve Clarke encourages residents to stay safe and shop local. It matters now more than ever, he says. OrilliaMatters File Photo

The week following Thanksgiving, is Small Business Week (Oct. 18-24) and now more than ever businesses are grateful for all the support of local consumers that have made positive changes in their purchasing habits to support their own community.

During the first wave of COVID-19, innovations and changes within local businesses were completed with help from all levels of government to keep a very large portion of our businesses open and it is the local consumers who deserve the credit for coming to the aid of those businesses as a first choice.

During this second wave, we cannot afford to change that trend of supporting the shop, dine and finding tourism opportunities locally. It may be the only chance we have to keep our businesses open through the fall winter months ahead. There is an overwhelming sense of thankfulness from businesses based on community efforts to support their own community first.

“Without the tax base from local businesses, your municipal tax levels would increase substantially to fill the gap paid by the brick and mortar taxes of commercial and industrial properties," said Nathan Brown, president of the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce.

"Out of country online retailers are not paying direct taxes in your community and that possible price advantage will eventually catch up to local residents," said Brown. These local businesses not only employ your family, friends and neighbours but they also support local charities, athletics and community groups.

"The money spent here stays here and this has never been truer than during our travel limitations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The money spent in our community will stay in our community," said Brown.

“Downtown Orillia businesses are very thankful and overwhelmed by the support of local residents over the past several months,” said Lisa Thomson-Roop. Manager of Downtown Orillia.

“Our merchants have worked diligently to implement safe practises to keep our community healthy by offering services such as curbside pick-up, delivery, online shopping, enhanced cleaning in stores as well as limiting the number of people in a location one time," said Thomson-Roop. "Keeping the community we are proud to call home safe, is our top priority and shopping local will ensure the downtown not only survives but thrives for years to come. “

Councillor Ted Emond, Chair of the City’s Economic Recovery Task Force agreed.

“Small business is the backbone of the economy in and around Orillia," said Emond. "These businesses have and continue to support our community, and it is more important than ever that we spend our money locally rather than on online retailers that contribute nothing to our economy. The message bears repeating. But more important is the continued effort to shop local.”

Kris Puhvel, Executive Director at Orillia & Lake Country Tourism commented on ways to help this effort.

“This fall, visit your favourite local restaurant or try a new one, take in one of the many experiences offered by our tourism businesses and buy your products from our local shops," said Puhvel. "Your collective support will help ensure their well-being – now and in the future.”

Small Business Week is Oct. 18 through Oct. 24, 2020 and it should be noted that 9 out 10 Canadians in the private sector work for a small to medium sized business. #staysafeshoplocal



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