GRAEME BRUCE/BRANDON SUN
The number of vehicles travelling through the Boissevain border crossing between Friday and Sunday of the American Thanksgiving weekend this year dropped dramatically from 2012, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency.
Data from the Boissevain border crossing suggest Westman residents didn’t care much about joining in the American Black Friday pandemonium.
According to the Canada Border Services Agency, the number of vehicles processed at the Boissevain border between Friday and Sunday of American Thanksgiving dropped by two thirds compared to last year and the numbers were about half of those from 2011.
There could be a number of reasons there was such a stark difference this year at the area’s busiest crossing.
The Brandon Chamber of Commerce put substantial effort into keeping local money here with its Brandon is Better campaign that advertised local sales through the lobby group’s website. The chamber also handed out printed material such as store-front decals for businesses to show support.
"It’s good news for us. It means people are staying home to shop and hopefully it’s a start to what could become a pretty big deal in Black Friday Brandon," said chamber president Craig Senchuk.
"A lot more retailers participated, advertised ... you just saw a lot more posters up and banners, I have to think it had to have some kind of effect."
This was the first time the local chamber put so much effort into stopping the money from flowing south on America’s busiest shopping day of the year.
Cyber Monday, when the Christmas deals move online, saw a huge increase in Canada this year.
According to Moneris, one of the largest companies that process debit and credit card purchases, Cyber Monday spending in Canada jumped 30 per cent over the same day last year, suggesting Canadians are kicking back on a couch and doing holiday shopping from home.
The company also said spending on consumer electronics such as television and stereos dropped by 35 per cent on Black Friday compared to last year, but jumped 46 per cent on Cyber Monday.
Shoppers Mall’s second annual Holiday Magic Event, which aimed to keep retail money in the area, sold 922 $5-tickets in support of various local charities, including Big Brothers and Sisters.
As for exchange rates on Black Friday, this year the Canadian dollar was worth $.94US, in 2012 it was on par, and $.95US in 2011, according to the Bank of Canada.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 9, 2013