The hardships of local stores are being highlighted during small business week.
Over the past couple of months, multiple businesses such as the Jaguar Lounge and Campbell’s Music have had to permanently close their doors.
The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t the only culprit as many continue to struggle due to the downturn in the economy, April’s flood, and the aftermath of the Horse River wildfire, however, it’s definitely caused the most strain in recent months.
Dianna de Sousa, Executive Director of the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce, tells Mix News many businesses are in danger of closing.
“The Chamber’s seen somewhere between 10 to 15 per cent of businesses not yet reopen their doors from the flood and COVID on top of that. Realistically, if we didn’t have the Canada Wage Subsidy to support them, we would see a number of small businesses close.”
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, local businesses have had to temporarily close their doors and try and run the business remotely. The lack of stores opened also forced residents to shop online.
“It’s really important right now that we celebrate, recognize, and give back to our small businesses because without them the economy would suffer in terms of revenue but also in terms of jobs,” added Natasha Hartson, Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation for Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corporation.
During the week, residents are being asked to support local businesses.
The YMM Chamber, WBEDC, and Community Futures Wood Buffalo are also running an online contest from October 18 to 24 to help encourage people to shop locally.
It requires people to share their small business stories on Facebook and Twitter while tagging the local store. Those who do so will be entered into a draw to win $500 of Fort McMurray Bucks that can be spent at any participating local business.
-With files from Steph Seidel
— MIX 103.7 News (@Mix1037FMNews) October 19, 2020