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Find ways to get consumers to stay

It appears the Brandon Chamber of Commerce’s campaign to keep local shoppers on this side of the border during the retail frenzy that is American Thanksgiving weekend is working.

On the surface at least.

As the Sun reported on Monday, data from the Canada Border Services Agency showed that the number of vehicles processed at the Boissevain border between Friday and Sunday that weekend dropped by two thirds compared to last year, and the numbers were about half of those from 2011.

“It’s good news for us,” chamber president Craig Senchuk told the Sun. “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.”

More retailers joined the chamber cause this year, and many more posters and banners went up in local retail stores as a means to keep shoppers here.

While this may well have had an effect — hopefully so — only the retailers who have been watching their bottom lines will know for sure.

But for some time, the purchasing habits of Canadians have been changing as more and more of us shop online rather than brave the crowded streets and shopping malls looking for that holiday bargain.

According to Moneris, a company that processes debit and credit card purchases, online shopping jumped in Canada by 30 per cent on the day called Cyber Monday — the Monday that follows Black Friday in the U.S. That suggests at least some folks decided to stay at home and shop rather than travel across the border.

The company also said spending on consumer electronics such as televisions and stereos dropped by 35 per cent on Black Friday compared to the year before, but jumped by 46 per cent on Cyber Monday.

We continue to urge readers to support their local business community by patronizing local retailers during the holiday season. These men and women are your neighbours, friends and perhaps even family, and if we want to keep our local economy strong, we need to support them.

At the same time, we believe businesses must adapt to the reality of consumer spending habits, even if that means creating our own version of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to keep folks spending locally, and hopefully to draw a few new dollars to the community as well.

The Brandon chamber has made a strong first step in this direction by taking the initiative and encouraging participation by the local business community. Though only time will tell how successful the endeavour will be, it has been a step worth taking.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 10, 2013

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It appears the Brandon Chamber of Commerce’s campaign to keep local shoppers on this side of the border during the retail frenzy that is American Thanksgiving weekend is working.

On the surface at least.

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It appears the Brandon Chamber of Commerce’s campaign to keep local shoppers on this side of the border during the retail frenzy that is American Thanksgiving weekend is working.

On the surface at least.

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