Calgarians buy local for the holidays amid supply chain issues and online delivery delays

Amid global supply chain issues and uncertainties about getting online orders delivered on time, Calgarians – heading into their second pandemic holiday season – are shopping earlier and more locally for s ‘make sure their stockings are full for Christmas.

That’s according to a number of independent Calgary businesses that say they’ve been extremely busy over the past two months.

“We have certainly had very good use of our online orders and our in-person purchases because of it,” said Susan Hare, owner of Calgary’s oldest independent bookstore, Owl’s Nest Books.

Maureen Reid, owner of Reid’s, says November and December were very busy months for stationery.

She says not only are people shopping earlier this year because of warnings that supply chain issues can lead to empty shelves as Christmas approaches, Calgarians are well educated and understand the issues better. .

“It’s been talked about so much in the media that if you say, ‘I’m sorry, I don’t think we can get it before Christmas’ or ‘We haven’t received this product,’ they understand. They know the stuff. reasons behind it, ”Reid said.

Hare says the bookstore started telling people about the problem in early fall, when publishers warned sellers it was going to be a challenge – and the communication paid off.

Owl’s Nest Bookstore is Calgary’s oldest independent bookstore, founded 40 years ago. The store has seen a significant increase in online orders, especially during the holiday season. (Submitted by Susan Hare)

The importance of supporting local businesses is a message the City of Calgary sends to Calgarians each holiday season.

For every $ 100 spent locally, $ 58 stays in Calgary’s economy, according to the city. So spending at local stores and restaurants keeps money in Calgarians’ pockets.

Local businesses affected by road closures in British Columbia

CBC News reported last month that Albertans could face significant challenges getting goods in and out of the province in the weeks and months to come after floods and landslides in southern Colombia -British who cut highways and disrupted railways.

It has affected independent businesses in Calgary.

“The biggest problem we’ve had is the situation in British Columbia,” Hare said.

Piece on Peace in Calgary’s Spruce Cliff neighborhood offers ethically sourced merchandise, including this mug from a local Calgary potter. (Submitted by Barbara Mackenzie)

The bookstore has not received any products from any of its suppliers in British Columbia for three weeks. Hare says she received them every five to seven working days.

Jennifer Leblond, owner of Steeling Home on 17th Avenue SW, explains that many local suppliers to the store also struggle to obtain certain items, such as products for making candles.

“A lot of our suppliers are from the coast, and with the road gone, eroded, it takes a little longer. There are more problems. So it creates problems,” Leblond said.

Barbara Mackenzie, owner of Piece on Peace, an independent boutique in Spruce Cliff, is in the same boat.

“The problem is, even when you work with all of these local artists that we showcase in our store, there may be some supplies that they don’t get to do their jobs,” Mackenzie said. “And this is where we are all connected to everything.”

Pick up online orders from local stores

While there may be uncertainties about online orders from big box retailers arriving in time for the holidays, local stores say their online stores are only intensifying.

“We’ve always had an online presence, but now it’s definitely, I would say, a cornerstone of our business rather than an accessory,” said Leblond.

Maureen Reid, owner of Reid’s, says the stationery was extremely busy in November and December. (Reid’s / Instagram)

Steeling Home’s online delivery service, which was originally created to reduce congestion in the store, is also popular in the city, says Leblond.

Before the pandemic, Hare says, 99% of customers ordered books in-store, with the occasional person from overseas ordering a gift online.

“Now I would say it’s a 60/40 split [with] 60% in-store purchases and 40% online. “

Helping small businesses stay afloat

Hare says if retailers have a bad fourth quarter – October through December – there’s a good chance they won’t make it through next year.

This is why the business community says it is especially important to support local businesses during these months.

Mackenzie says this is one way to stimulate Calgary’s economy.

“When you support a local, you support the staff, you support the artists,” Mackenzie said. “It’s a great cycle. When you support the local community, you support your community.”

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