Once a month, a Fernie Chamber member opens up their business to host the business, banter, and beers event. The host welcomes 20 to 30 businesses and community leaders into their space to share some eats, drinks, and laughs. The Chamber has been hosting these events for two years now and it is always a good time. It provides our business community a chance to chat about common challenges, celebrate success stories, and build connections.
In October, the event was hosted by three companies – Lilac Media, Fernie Fireplace and Appliances, and Elk River Homes. From 5:30 to 7pm, people from a variety of businesses showed up to check out the space, get an update from the Chamber, and hear from the owners of the three host companies.
There was something special that happened at the October event that blew me away. One of our hosts, Dave Hozjan of Elk River Homes, provided a great commentary on business in Fernie and the evolution of the Fernie economy. Dave noted that Fernie businesses are dependent on many things we cannot control such as the weather, will it be a good ski year, or Alberta and the oil market. We are at the mercy of these things we cannot control. Even with the outside forces, we have seen many local business owners and entrepreneurs carve out an existence for themselves here. Our local businesses building an economy here.
Dave continued that as Fernie has evolved, more and more people are coming here because the growing industries and strong businesses are building a local economy. Paraphrased, he gave examples of ‘we don’t have to leave Fernie to get local roasted coffee anymore, it is here. We don’t have to leave Fernie to get appliances or printing, we don’t have to leave Fernie anymore. Fernie is an island and the more we can offer our visitors and occupants, the better off we will all be and the longer we can all stay here.’
Dave’s words were a testament to the value of shopping local and the variety of products and services offered locally. Fernie entrepreneurs are creating products and services for all. With all these great offerings, I hope you recharge this fall and shop local. So, if you still need convincing, here is a list of five reasons to shop local.
1. It is environmentally friendly. Why drive out of town when you can walk or bike to our shops with locally curated product selected with Fernie lifestyle in mind? Save the money on gas and get yourself something extra that was designed with Fernie in mind.
2. It supports our no-nprofits. Spending local recirculates money into our local non-profits. Have you ever noticed the number of events in this town, and the number of local sponsors making these events happen? Buying a car in Cranbrook or Fernie leaves you with the same car at the end of the day, but the Fernie purchased car sponsors our local hockey team, concert series, or community trails.
3. It is an investment in our City. Property tax on our businesses represent 23% of the City of Fernie property tax revenues. Those revenues are used to pay for infrastructure in our public spaces, road, and pipes in the ground. Strong businesses support our community through tax dollars.
4. It provides jobs. Small businesses are the largest employers nationally. We all know many who came for winter and stayed for summer. Shopping local means more jobs for more to stay year-round.
5. It’s personalized service. Local businesses are managed and run by the people in our community and they are vested in your success as much as their success. And with the creativity growing in Fernie, there are more and more products you can source locally.