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OPINION: The domino effect of lost business

The benefits to shopping local goes well beyond keeping businesses in town
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Recently a sign outside a local business read: "Shop local, Amazon doesn't support your kid's sports team."

And that point is lost on a lot of people. In the constant pursuit of a bargain and instant savings, we often lose sight of the long term cost of not supporting locally owned and operated business.

We may pay a few more bucks at the moment of purchase, but what is the cost when these businesses close?

In Thorold we constantly see the same local business names supporting sports, heritage, music, health care, churches, and many local fundraisers.  

When was the last time you saw Walmart on the back of a sports jersey or advertising in a locally owned publication?

And local business owners don't just support all these initiatives; they, in turn, shop and spend here. They hire locals and invest in neighbouring businesses like gas stations, restaurants, food stores and so many more.

In Thorold these facts are painfully apparent.

People are asking why Thorold is losing so many businesses when we're growing more than ever before.

In some cases, it's simply business according to numbers gathered at a corporate office in Toronto or other centre.

Businesses such as banks and the LCBO don't care where boundaries are. They look at demographics within a certain radius or how much business they can do online. They operate where their marketing consultants tell them to operate.

But in the case of locally owned business, this isn't possible very often. They open in Thorold because they believe they are offering goods or services we need, and expect the support of their community and neighbours. 

Sadly, many residents here care as little about boundaries as the businesses they lament losing. Thorold is surrounded by three larger cities and the majority of residents here, shop there.

Some blame local political officials for lost business, but each of us has as much, or more, to do with lost business than they. Some have suggested financial support through tax breaks. But that is the equivalent of propping up big business through taxes and that's ludicrous. If they can't make it through customer support, they should move or close.

The best thing we can do is shop locally whenever we can. Given the unprecedented growth in Thorold, support from all residents would mean that any business that is needed will thrive. It's that simple.