Encouraging our town’s businesses by shopping locally

Ponoka is an encouraging town. Whether it’s pulling together to rake leaves, sleep in a parking lot to raise money for an organization, celebrating Remembrance Day or stocking shoeboxes for children, Ponoka has come together time and time again to do something good.

Ponoka is an encouraging town. Whether it’s pulling together to rake leaves, sleep in a parking lot to raise money for an organization, celebrating Remembrance Day or stocking shoeboxes for children, Ponoka has come together time and time again to do something good.

It’s not just the local individuals and organizations that are involved with helping the community and volunteering, but Ponoka’s businesses and business owners have put themselves in a position to benefit the community as well.

Many businesses stepped up to the plate with the Senior Friendly program and redid their washrooms, organized their store, etc to make it more accommodating to the senior population. They took time to be trained and educated in being senior friendly and their combined efforts resulted in the province recognizing and designating Ponoka as the first senior friendly town.

Businesses in our town have had barbecues, donated money from coffee or cookies sales, special promotions benefiting the food bank or local organizations and other creative and fun fundraisers.

Some have just donated a lump sum of money to create recreation places, improve the parks, etc.

Some businesses in town give their employees a paid hour off to go and volunteer or mentor for the Big Brother Big Sister program in Ponoka.

There is no question that the businesses in town have a big heart for the community.

On Nov. 28 Midnight Madness will be in full swing in Ponoka and is a chance for the town to give back to the businesses, help strengthen Ponoka and keep money local.

Shopping locally is important for a strong and thriving community. It seems to be the trend to shop at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Great Canadian Super Store, etc. a place where one can go in and find everything they need in just one building. These places dominate the marketplace and are known for their variety and proclaimed ‘lower prices’. With the giant retail centres popping up all over the country it’s crucial that it doesn’t wipe out the small town businesses that make up a big part of the rural communities.

The money spent at local businesses is reinvested in the community. This helps other local businesses, resulting in creating greater diversity and maintaining the town’s uniqueness.

Keeping money local goes farther than spending it at a large retail centre. It is passed from one business to another but when someone goes down the road and spends that dollar somewhere else is when the town loses out.

Many of our local businesses are owned by residents in the community; local people who work hard to provide quality merchandise or a service. There is a trust that comes with a small town business and knowing the staff and owner enhances the trust.

If we maintain a strong business and retail sector our community will grow. Industries and other businesses are attracted to towns and cities that have a strong downtown core, where empty stores deter further economic growth.

Keeping dollars local contributes to a greener environment as well. It keeps people from driving farther distances, lessens traffic and polluting, etc.

There are many reasons to shop locally. Whether it’s personal or logical, shopping in Ponoka will only make things better.

It’s not saying that everyone should shop locally all the time and that it’s terrible to shop somewhere else. But it does maintain, uphold and strengthen the town when the dollars stay local.

So, on Nov. 28 join in on the madness and see the specials, promotions and merchandise Ponoka is offering this year and come out, have fun and encourage the local businesses that make up our community.

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