Small business the backbone of community

Commentary by Richard Froese

Small businesses are the economic backbone of a community of any size, rural and urban.

Most small businesses have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic that was declared March 11. One good thing about COVID is that many businesses are surviving by local shoppers.

Small Business Week, Oct. 18-24, takes on a stronger meaning in 2020 as many small and independent businesses struggle in the pandemic and a recession.

Many have closed their doors, leaving many people without work. Some businesses are bouncing back.

Local and small businesses need support, from local residents more than anytime since the Great Depression of the 1930s, or more will be history.

COVID-19 restrictions and risks have caused one of the most devastating economic crises in history. Dozens of small businesses in the High Prairie, Falher, Peace River and Slave Lake regions were already struggling from the economic downturn when the pandemic struck seven months ago.

Many are slowly but surely on the rebound to sustainable businesses since the economy started to reopen in May after the strict lockdown in spring when people were ordered to stay home in isolation, out of the community and businesses.

When people shop and buy at home and support local businesses, it goes a long way to build and sustain a community. Businesses in your community are a great base to pay taxes to municipalities to support recreation facilities and parks, libraries, streets and sidewalks, water and sewer, waste collection, and other services.

Businesses hire local people who also become active in the community. They often buy a home, raise a family and become taxpayers to further sustain the community.

Most businesses in your community support organizations and events.

Support your local business just as business supports local organizations and events.

The message is clear from the Business Development Bank of Canada that has organized the special week for more than 40 years.

“Forging the Way Forward” is the theme for 2020.

In these unprecedented times, Canadian entrepreneurs have once again shown their courage and ability to adapt.

“This year for BDC Small Business Week, we are taking the time to recognize their resilience, trying to understand what has changed for Canadian businesses and looking to build for the future in these uncertain times,” says a statement from the website.

One unfortunate part of the COVID pandemic is that many people have stayed home to protect themselves from the virus. Many people have limited their trips to local businesses and some prefer to shop online.

When people don’t support local businesses, it can often be a step in the death of a community, a nail in the coffin.

That’s one of the aspects of a book 12 Ways to Kill Your Community by Doug Griffiths, former Alberta MLA and municipal affairs minister, first published in 2010.

Do you want your community; to survive and thrive?

Shop and buy at home.

Do you want to kill your community?

Make it a habit to shop and buy out of town.

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