Supporting local merchants …

By Sandra L. Brown

March 9, 2017 10:53 AM

We become so comfortable and familiar with day to day city life that we almost become complacent about it. We may fail to see the many advantages to supporting and appreciating the services rendered by local merchants in our community.
Complacency is in part an individual choice; however, economic times force us to make difficult decisions. 
With the recent announcement of a community pet store’s imminent closing, it made me think about what it means to be a part of Lloydminster. 
Merchants are more than just store owners trying to make a living, they are vital to the success of our community and in a sense they are family. 
They provide a backbone upon which this community thrives.  Large box stores offer competitive prices but often lose the personal touch and we as a community need both. 
There’s added value in a small business who genuinely appreciates your support.
Lloydminster began as a tiny western dot on the prairie map with folks barely eking an existence out of the solid earth’s ground.
Using sweat equity, sheer grit and strong determination, the town and village grew facing attainable obstacles along the way. 
Hitching up a team, braving the elements and travelling to town once a week to purchase or barter for necessary supplies was part of pioneer life. 
Lloydminster was the nearest town for many folks and home to many more. 
Their social lives depended upon its community to share news, provide support for each other and nurture the local economy. 
Before the days of telephones, farm folks were cut off from Lloydminster because of distance and were in retrospect living alone.
Town life came with many advantages as schools and churches sprung up. 
The number of businesses steadily increased each presenting a unique bonus to society and adding to its enjoyment. 
Have you ever given thought to the tremendous opportunity we have to be able to do this? 
As early as 1910, an editorial in the Lloydminster Times stated the obvious…the majority of Lloydminster citizens are level headed and not easily carried away by a passing fad. 
But the writer supposed if this weren’t the case to imagine what would happen if all the locals began buying supplies and wearables from mail order houses rather than shop from local merchants. 
“In the first place, the local stores would be no more.  Their proprietors would have sought green fields and pastures anew.” 
It was felt that if large purchases were bought, then eventually even the smallest items would have to be sent away for. 
“Send your dollar away and you get nothing but the goods. 
Spend it here and it comes back to you in many ways—better roads, better schools, better churches and better social advantages.”
The editor suggested that the stores would close, the home trade would then be ruined and the money would go to build up some enormous corporation in Winnipeg, Toronto or Montreal. 
We would help these cities to have finely paved streets, but our roads would be axle deep in mud. 
There would be vacant houses to rent or purchase, but no one to occupy them. 
There would be no home market for produce and the value of farms would decrease. 
The value of all real estate would decrease substantially and eventually the newspaper would cease publication. 
“You know that it is the inhabitants of a town that create the value of land both in the town and in the surrounding country…We believe, we are within the mark when we say that if all the money that now goes to mail order houses from this vicinity in Lloydminster, would increase the value of the property in town and the value of farms in the surrounding country very maternally.”
The real worth and value can easily be seen through the eyes of visitors to our community. 
Lloydminster’s prosperity depends on our support and in turn, Lloydminster will support us. This value is truly a privilege. 
We are all stockholders in Lloydminster’s community. 
Remember to show a heartfelt appreciation to the backbone of our community—the store merchants.
“Let us be honest with ourselves and make our homes more valuable.  Buy at home.”

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