Last-minute Christmas shoppers encouraged to support local Calgary businesses

With just a week to go until Christmas, local Calgary shop owners are making a final push for business in what’s typically their ‘make’ or ‘break’ season for sales.

It’s why the business districts of Kensington and Inglewood are hosting their final weekend of holiday activities to drive traffic to the areas.

Despite plunging temperatures, Calgarians are invited to enjoy free hot chocolate, live musical performances and horse drawn carriage rides with Santa Claus from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Visitors are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations to support the community wide-food drive for the Veterans Food Bank.

Annie MacInnis, executive director of the Kensington Business Improvement Area, says the community spirit is vital for generating much-needed cash flow into the local economy.

“For every dollar spent at one of our local businesses, it generates six dollars for our local Calgary economy,” she said.

“You’re supporting their employees who are your family and friends and colleagues and you’re supporting our local economy because you are buying their products and giving back to the shops, restaurants and coffee shops that you love and appreciate,” she said.  “We want them to do well this Christmas.”

HOLIDAY SEASON CRUCIAL

MacInnis added that about 70 per cent of the income for a small business is generated during the Christmas and holiday season.

This push for local sales couldn’t be more important for shop owners like Victor Tipper who runs the Hidden Gem Market in Kensington.

“We have 85 different small businesses packed into this one shop so you’re really helping out on a great scale here,” said Tipper.

“You’re getting the personal touch of walking through a store, sometimes you get to meet the vendors here, and the quality is just top notch. They put a lot of sweat and heart into it.”

Purchasing local gifts can also be helpful for those who haven’t started their Christmas shopping.

Jack Nodwell was looking for the perfect gift on Saturday. He says he can’t rely on online sales because of shipping delays and that buying local is more supportive of the environment.

“I work in sustainability so I’m always really looking at everything environmentally and (as a result) shopping local,” he said. “It’s just a great way to keep the miles down for transportation, anything production-wise, you know, it’s a lot more responsibly made a lot of the time.”

“We’re looking to just be good by the planet and buy gifts that people can also enjoy, but also it’s less of an impact and saves you a lot of time too if you’re waiting on something.”

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