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Editorial: Support your local businesses this Christmas

An opinion piece on importance of shopping local this Christmas season.
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It’s never easy being an entrepreneur. This has been especially true for business owners in the southeast in recent years.

For a number of years, the challenge was associated with the downturn of the local economy. A slump in the price of oil, coupled with uncertainty over the future of coal-fired power, made it tough for our local merchants and other entrepreneurs.

Two years, ago, COVID-19 restrictions and supply chain issues made for a tough year. Last year, the restrictions were mostly lifted for the retail sector by the time the Christmas shopping season rolled around, but the supply chain issues were even greater than in 2020 for most.

This year, the economy is stronger. We’ve benefitted from a higher price of oil, although the activity hasn’t been as robust as some might like. But we’ve also seen the issues with inflation that bit into spending money for a lot of families, and there is a possible looming recession that is causing uneasiness for some.

But we still need to remember to support our retailers at Christmas. 

One thing that unites retailers throughout the region – regardless of location, business size or merchandise – is the reliance on this time of year. And it’s important for us to shop locally as much as possible over the next few weeks.

Estevan is blessed to have the business community that we have. We have excellent variety. We have several areas to shop. There’s downtown Estevan around Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Street, along with 13th Avenue. You have the Estevan Market Mall, which continues to make positive strides in its efforts to attract more businesses and shoppers. And you have the businesses located in the northeast end of town.

Between these commercial areas, there are a lot of options for us to shop, and a lot of places for us to spend our money.

Events like the Estevan Farmers’ Market Christmas sales and the Estevan Kinette Club’s Christmas market give us a chance to see what some of the other vendors in town have to offer. And we can look forward to the second annual Miracle on Fourth Street on Dec. 10, which will showcase what our downtown merchants have to offer.

Small business is the backbone of a community, whether it be Estevan or anywhere else. They provide local residents with the opportunity to live out a dream as an entrepreneur. They are a source of employment. A lot of the people who work for these businesses are teens. How many of us had our first job at a local small business? 

There are a lot of adults who work at these businesses, too.

And they provide a great source of community support. They sponsor our sports teams, community events, cultural facilities, schools, fundraisers and so much more.

They pay property taxes, allowing municipal programs and services to be delivered, or they rent retail space. 

Yes, it’s fun to go shopping in Regina, Minot and other communities. But in the end, these businesses get a lot more out of us than our community gets out of them.

With the local businesses, they benefit a lot when we shop there, but we as a community benefit from a thriving business sector.

In this week’s edition of the Mercury, you’ll find our annual Christmas catalogue. Want to know what you can get for someone in town? Check out the catalogue. This keepsake has become a favourite of ours. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but the end result is worth it.

You’ll find something for everyone inside, and something for all occasions. Looking for gifts for under the tree for family members and other loved ones? You’ll find it. Looking for stocking stuffers? You’ll find them. You’ll even find gifts for your co-workers.

And when you flip through the catalogue, you see just how much variety Estevan has for Christmas shopping. 

Note: If you aren’t exchanging Christmas gifts this year, and instead looking to support a charitable organization, there’s no shortage of worthy ones in Estevan.

Christmas can be a wonderful time of the year. And hopefully it will be a wonderful Christmas season for the business owners who do so much for us throughout the year.