Looking for a New Year’s Resolution? Support Local Businesses!

Jade Szymanski

The first month of 2019 has already zoomed by and all of you resolutioners may have already quit your conquests of becoming a better you. This is not a pessimistic assumption either, as studies have shown that over half of resolutions are given up by midFebruary. As February looms and perseverance dooms, perhaps this article is the sign that you’ve been looking for in order to keep the overrated promises you have made to yourself in developing better habits. However, if you are part of the half of the population who’s already given up, maybe I can persuade you into a new selfless resolution that helps others in your community and start by taking the initiative to support local businesses! Ever since the Industrial Revolution, corporate industries have controlled our societies, however, the movement for supporting local small businesses has been gaining traction over the past couple of decades and it is uplifting to see new local businesses pop up every month in Prince George. While we are constantly being told that it is important to shop local, perhaps you have never been informed the exact reasons as to why or maybe you don’t even know of any in your neighborhood! Fortunately, in this article you will discover the main reasons as to why local businesses are good for communities and I’ll even list off some Prince George businesses that I have personally had great experiences with. If you have never been provided with the proper evidence as to why supporting local businesses is good for the community, let me start by highlighting the obvious benefits such as a) keeping dollars within the local economy, that is, enriching the whole community as locally-owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy compared to chain stores; b) creating more local jobs for members of the community; and c) building strong communities, therefore sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes. There are also many more reasons to support local businesses that may not be as obvious such as d) maintaining local decision-making, as local ownership ensures that important decisions are made by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions; e) generating a competitive market, for a marketplace of hundreds of small businesses ensures constant innovation and low prices over the long-term; f) developing product diversity, as a multitude of small businesses who select products based on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, and not on a national sales plan, guarantees a much broader range of product choices; and lastly g) upholding environmental sustainability, by which local businesses help to sustain lively, compact, walkable town centers which are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution. Alright, so now you should all be jazzed up to support local businesses, but perhaps you don’t know of any in your area! Just this past month alone, I have had great interactions with the likes of Sonar Comedy and Night Club, Sarita Computer Repairs, Play Grounds Café, and Spicy Greens Restaurant. Having only been open for about a year, Sonar Comedy and Night Club is a refreshing new addition to Prince George’s nightlife scene and provides another effort at revitalizing the downtown core. I must especially point out the innovation of bringing a comedy club to Prince George, as supporting local comedy is very important to me and even watching open mic nights can be a good time (if you’re intoxicated enough) despite most amateur sets being a little rough. If you’ve never been to a comedy club, I highly suggest checking it out, but if it’s your first time, maybe go when a professional comic is lined up. Sarita Computer Repairs is located in the heart of College Heights and provided me with some of the best customer service I have ever received with any business. With the horror of finding a chunk of dead pixels on my laptop screen, they provided quick service, cheap prices, were much friendlier compared to the other computer repair services I called around town, and (with my acknowledged bias) my technician was also a half-Asian beauty named Jade. Play Grounds Café is located on 18th and Quinn, just near the CN Centre, and is a rustic little coffee shop that has been serving the families of Prince George for the past 2.5 years. Serving coffee using locally-roasted beans, as well as amazing homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, and sweet and savoury crepes, this familyrun business just opened a new location in the Prestige Hotel and Casino complex! Lastly, Spicy Greens Restaurant is located in College Heights and serves authentic Sri Lankan food. They also provided me with amazing customer service this past month, as I was waiting at the bus stop after my patronage with Sarita Computer Repairs, I decided to pop in and see if they could make me a meal in 10 minutes before the bus came. Clearly swamped with many orders, the owner accommodated my request and hustled to get me my meal in 7 minutes! I appreciated the dedication to going above and beyond for his customers despite my unrealistic request. These four local businesses get the “Jade Seal of Approval” and receive my highest praise for all of my readers to check them out!