‘There’s a sense of validation’: Shopping Local in Almaguin builds community
'Shop Local' became a catchy phrase during the pandemic but in Almaguin, shopping local means supporting your community while helping create a cycle of economic, social and cultural stability.
Local artisan, Kim Porter said every sale counts when you’re running your own business.
“I do a happy dance every time we make a sale,” said the creative mind behind The Lavender Raven. “I am a stay-at-home mom with two small children and this was a way to contribute to my family financially but gave me the flexibility to stay home with them.”
For Porter, when people choose to shop locally, it enables her to send her two children to camp, swimming lessons or save for a family trip.
“There’s a sense of validation that you are on the right path when someone buys something you have created or compliments your business, shares your (social media) post and so forth,” she said, adding that she makes a point to support local businesses herself.
“I think the community feeling of helping each other grow is the greatest feeling …,” she said. “This is why I have started a local vendor group on social media for the area so vendors and organizers can connect and share spaces, ideas and events.”
Almaguin Pet Supplies’ Carissa MacDonald echoes the sentiment and emphasized when choosing to shop locally, you’re choosing to support your local economy.
“The stores and restaurants here are made up and run by locals who care a great deal about their community and they want to see it thrive,” said MacDonald.
“You’re helping provide jobs for your fellow community members; it takes a village, it really does.”
Choosing to bypass local stores because they don’t have what Huntsville, Parry Sound or North Bay has puts Almaguin’s economy at risk and ultimately this causes further challenges for those living in the region.
Small businesses sponsor sports teams, ice time at the local rink - they sponsor events and schools in the area.
“So, when you shop locally you’re helping yourself as well as your community,” she said.
For Tracy Fowler-Hayes, who recently opened Second Nature Thrift in Sundridge, supporting local businesses creates a cycle of economic prosperity.
“Shopping and spending your money in the stores actually owned and operated by the hardworking people who live, work and volunteer here creates a beautiful cycle of economic, social and cultural sustainability,” said Fowler-Hayes.
So how can you support local? Almaguin-area resident and artisan Terri Reid said being conscious of resources available in the community and choosing those over big box stores or companies is a great way to support local businesses.
“It means checking out local vendors' events, farmers' markets and shops to find gifts, decorations; amazing fresh produce, maple syrup, honey, soaps and natural products,” said Reid.
Another way you can support local is by checking out Shop in Almaguin’s summer Shop Local content this August.
With four $100 gift cards up for grabs, participation is easy! All you need to do is take a photo or a selfie with a purchase made at an Almaguin business during the month of August.
Every week features a different category.
Shop in Almaguin: (August 4-10) Go ahead, treat yourself - you deserve it. We want to see anything you purchased from your favorite Almaguin retailer. Crocheted stuffies, treats for your four-legged friends or perhaps Maggie Dunchurch’s latest novel. Tag us in those pics, baby! #ShopinAlmaguin
Eat in Almaguin: (August 11-17)You know what they say, the camera eats first and we want to see what culinary delights you’re snacking on this week! From Powassan to Novar and any restaurant in between, show off your breakfast, lunch or dinner. #EatinAlmaguin
Made in Almaguin: (August 18-24) Summertime means farmer’s markets and vendor fairs galore and we’re here for it! Did you pick something up from a local farmer or artisan? Send us the pics and use the hashtag. #MadeinAlmaguin
Explore in Almaguin: (August 25-31) Feelin' like bowling? Trail riding? Out for a boat tour? Sleeping in a Yurt? Tag us in your super fun summer adventure pics if you’ve been out on an adventure with one of the fantastic recreational, tourism businesses in Almaguin. #ExploreinAlmaguin
The contest starts August 4 so get your cameras ready and follow Shop in Almaguin on Facebook to stay up-to-date.