By Julia Grabowska
With Black Friday mere hours away — and some sales even starting today — local Canadian businesses are calling out for consumers to stay behind the border.
The event,which often features signigicant markdowns, is shaping up to be bigger in Toronto, and all of Canada, this year, with retailers competing with the most popular shopping day in the U.S.
A campaign begun this year by Yellow Pages Group called Shop the Neighbourhood aims to raise awareness of the importance of keeping customers shopping in Canada.
Fiona Story, Senior Manager for public relations at Yellow Pages Group, said Shop the Neighbourhood was born out of a desire to raise the profile of small local businesses and the contributions they make to their communities.
“The reason why Yellow Pages Group launched this is because we’re a Canadian born and bred marketing company and we’ve been working with small businesses and communities across Canada for over a century. We’re pretty connected to the challenges that these businesses face in a changing market place,” she said.
One local business supporting Shop The Neighbourhood is Queen Spectacle.
The eye care store has three locations in neighbourhoods around the GTA — in the Kingsway on Bloor Street West, as well as Port Credit and Streetsville. Owner Silvia Yeomans said her stores are all defined by the neighbourhoods they are located in.
“People love living in neighbourhoods like this because people love being surrounded by a community feel, and the only way they will exist is if people shop locally,” Yeomans said from her Streetsville location.
“If people went online or across the border to shop, all those quaint shops would be boarded up. These shops are what help neighbourhoods flourish. If it wasn’t for small businesses, they would not exist.”
The event day for Shop The Neighbourhood is Nov. 30, where Story said the public can support local businesses by making local purchases.
“The one thing that has remained constant over the years is what the businesses dependency is on people’s local purchases in order to survive. They drive almost half of the country’s GDP, they make strong contributions to local economies and they contribute to what makes our neighbourhoods desirable and attractive.”