Ways to boost local shopping

·2 min read

GLENCOE - Members of the township’s Economic Development Committee met on 4 March 2021 to discuss ways to help the business community and incentivize local shopping. “I see Shoppers Drug Mart in town two or three times a week delivering, when we have a pharmacy of our own,” noted committee member Dennis Harmsworth, suggesting some “shop-local” visuals be dispersed into the community. Other established businesses in downtown Glencoe are still being found by residents who previously didn’t know they were there. Glencoe business owners are split on the idea of a local discount for Southwest Middlesex residents. Karen Creasor, owner of The Woodhouse, liked the idea but rightfully pointed out that the impact of Covid-19 has made it tough for businesses to offer discounts right now. The question is whether the discount would attract new revenue from locals who may not have been shopping locally to begin with. Another approach is a frequency discount, which may not work as well to bring in brand-new customers, but does encourage repeat-customers. Other downtown vendors have tried things like Canada Post mail-outs and Facebook ads, to little or moderate success. Christina Bertrand, owner of CB Creative Concepts, explains that the Celebrate Community Committee began as a volunteer network with the goal of promoting local businesses via social media. She says there’s lots of opportunity for downtown businesses to work together. With other life commitments taking priority, the CCC page is not maintained as actively as it once was. Bertrand suggests that the municipality could leverage their social media pages for similar promotion. Mayor Allan Mayhew agrees that his council should advocate for local businesses. Thus far, the Twp. has put their focus on the environment - things like new streetlights, flower basket programmes, benches and trash bins. The Economic Development Committee is investigating the possibility of creating a BIA. A sub-committee consisting of Mayhew, councillor Mark McGill, and Rick Cowell will be scoping out the process. Downtown shop owners’ thoughts on a BIA range from “all-in” to skeptical; the consensus being that more information is needed before businesses are willing to pay the levy. Over the next few years, business owners will need to get creative in finding ways to attract business. The retail amenities of the City of London are attractive; even more attractive is the convenience of online shopping.

McKinley Leonard-Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner