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Black Friday — keeping your cash where you live

Black Friday means a ton of deals at local merchants
Black Friday means a ton of deals at local merchants' stores in Cranbrook
— image credit: Photo submitted

 

A few years ago, I was introduced to the ‘Where’s Willy’ web site. This is a site where people would enter the serial number of a Canadian bill (originally only $5 bills, in honour of Wilfred Laurier). They would write a small note on the bill to draw attention to the site and other people receiving that bill later could enter it on the site—enabling it to be tracked.

I took part in this initiative purely from a desire to see how far my fiver would travel. As you can keep going back to the site to check on your bill’s progress across the land, I was thrilled to see my money leave the area the very next week. Within two months, after a brief stay in Calgary, it was in the small town of Cabri, Saskatchewan.

I was celebrating my money’s travels with some friends when one of them asked what I was so happy about. After all, wouldn’t it be better if that bill had stayed in the community?

She was right, and besides eloquently deflating my exuberance, she reminded me of the importance of the local economy and what makes it run.

This thought had obviously occurred to Joey Hoechsman at the Bedroom Furniture Galleries when he challenged Ashley Furniture Homestore to a Black Friday sale last year. What started as a small event soon blossomed to something much larger as local business got on board with the idea. Soon, more than 40 businesses became a part of the initiative and local consumers took advantage of the great deals.

This year’s event, which takes place on Friday, November 16, is set to eclipse the inaugural Cranbrook Black Friday as businesses prepare to give the best possible deals to anyone entering their doors.

But as you leave these stores with your car packed with awesome bargains, you should remember another Cranbrook resident’s plan for the local economy. Connor Stewart, a director on the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce, promoted the 10 per cent shift recently. He pointed to Miner County, South Dakota, and its success in inspiring the community to spend just 10 per cent more at home. Almost before the county realized it, there were millions of dollars added to local coffers and troubled businesses were reporting substantial increases in revenue.

Enjoy this year’s Black Friday event. Use this as a chance to get great deals, introduce yourself to businesses you may not have visited before and help to keep your money within the community.

While you’re at it, please consider spending a little more at local businesses the whole year round and chances are the next $5 bill you spend may end up right back in your wallet.

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