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Mayor Gondek rolls out Support Local YYC push for the holidays

Mayor Jyoti Gondek joined Inglewood small business owners on Black Friday, to spread the shop local message to Calgarians.

The mayor toured three shops Friday afternoon during the #SupportLocalYYC push. (She may have even bought some things.) Mayor Gondek shared with residents the importance of spending their holiday money locally this year.

“As you go about your day, please think about the communities in Calgary that have local businesses, and how you can support them,” she said.

“It is really easy to click buttons and shop online. But you know, what’s even better is getting out of the house, going out with your family, getting out to some of the businesses and restaurants that so desperately need us to support them, not just at this time of the year, but year-round.”

Roxy Acetylene (her roller derby name) is the owner of Nerd Roller Skates in Inglewood. They’ve been operating in the area for 12 years. She said it’s a critical time for many of these Calgary businesses.

“I think local businesses are really the backbone of any community,” she said.  

“They bring vibrancy to areas where you’ve got neighborhoods with lots going on, they bring some life to the street, and you can find something that you might not expect.”

The beauty of many local shops, she said, is they go beyond just product. They sell experience and expertise that you don’t get from “object” buying.

“The more that we have independent business in Calgary, providing those vibrant communities, then it makes Calgary a better place to live.

Still in pandemic mode

Mary Dela Torre, marketing manager for Moonstone Creations said the past two years have been challenging.

One of the biggest changes they’ve had to make was to convert all of their artistic classes were moved online. They’ve sent people kits, an instruction sheet and a video – and they’ve had more than 500 people participate.

“The owners have done an amazing job of pivoting for COVID,” she said.

Christmas is an important time for many of these area small businesses, Dela Torre said.

“It is so important. I think this year and last year, it’s been more important than ever,” she said.

Mayor Gondek also visited indie book store, the next page. The mayor browsed the wall-to-wall, ceiling high bookshelves.  She mentioned she’s a Stephen King fan.

The mayor was asked what the city could do to further help small business. Earlier in the week, city council approved a 2022 budget that called for a nearly four per cent property tax hike. The Chamber of Commerce said they were worried it would impact local business.

“As a city, we are incredibly committed to doing what we can,” she said.

“I know that the small business task force was absolutely critical in helping us understand how to support small businesses, and we will continue to listen to the things they tell us.”