Whitehorse Daily Star

Think local, shop local, chamber urges Yukoners

The Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce launched its new Buy Local Whitehorse campaign on June 29.

By Whitehorse Star on July 9, 2020

The Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce launched its new Buy Local Whitehorse campaign on June 29.

The initiative will focus on ​supporting and building stronger partnerships with local businesses.

The Buy Local Whitehorse campaign will build on the chamber’s “Look Inside” program, which was created to educate Yukoners on the economic benefits of supporting local business.

The new program will pivot from education to promotion to help increase local business sales. That is essential as Whitehorse and the territory begin to reopen, the chamber said.

“It is absolutely imperative to support our local Whitehorse businesses,” said chamber chair Lars Hartling.

“It is important to shop local and experience local. Every dollar spent locally is critical​ ​to Yukon businesses surviving these extremely trying times.”

A recent chamber survey on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic response on the Yukon’s private sector found that:

● 55 per cent of respondents are worried about falling into greater debt or taking on greater debt;

● 45 per cent are worried they won’t be able to pay their bills;

● 29 per cent are worried they won’t be able to retire as planned; and

● 18 per cent are worried about going bankrupt.

“This pandemic has been a challenging time for all of us, but particularly for people who have invested their lives in building the businesses that we rely ​on,” said Susan ​Guatto, the chamber’s executive director.

“​Local businesses contribute to the lives of Yukoners, they support fundraising programs, sponsor teams and organizations, and volunteer to help ​wherever ​it​ is needed.”

The campaign will roll out over the next four months and will adapt to the needs of local businesses based on the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The chamber supports all businesses and organizations to contribute to the economic, civil and social well-being of Whitehorse.

It’s a member-based organization geared toward supporting local businesses and organizations through providing support and advisory services to further the development of Yukon businesses and industry.

That includes business advocacy, professional training and development, benefits programs, advertising/marketing support and business to business connections.

The chamber represents close to 500 businesses and organizations in the Yukon.

It’s the only accredited chamber in northern Canada to have received the chamber accreditation of Canada’s five-star accreditation rating, recognizing it as one of the top 10 per cent of all of Canadian chambers.

Comments (26)

Up 5 Down 0

YukonMax on Jul 15, 2020 at 2:28 pm

No thank you Lars Hartling!
You shop local and get back to us next week to tell us all about your wonderful experience.

Up 11 Down 9

Average Joe on Jul 14, 2020 at 9:19 am

@ Woodcutter
Your comments sound a little racist towards the white culture.

Up 17 Down 13

brian on Jul 13, 2020 at 12:38 pm

Woodcutter... if people made more on EI than working for you then maybe the workers are not the issue??

Up 12 Down 11

JC on Jul 13, 2020 at 11:51 am

Woodcutter, OK, you got some good points. I gave you a thumbs up.

Up 36 Down 17

Woodcutter on Jul 11, 2020 at 3:18 pm

@jc all the white Yukoners got to be too proud to serve customers coffee, wait on tables, stock shelves. They got too proud when the mines started up and the construction boom arrived. Besides being too proud, they got old and during their lifetime didn't make enough babies that business needed to exploit in order to pay the taxes needed to provide the revenue to prop up the safety net of benefits that you have come to rely on.

In a previous life I managed a hotel operation and we needed foreign workers cause the local labour force was not there, and those that were available were more concerned about not messing up their ei, or made more on welfare. In short, no get up and go.

My family immigrated here in the late 60's for similar reasons. The economy demanded skilled workers that were willing to work hard, long and smart. That kind of employee is still in short supply if employers need to rely on the "white" locals.
Foriegn workers didn't steal your jobs, your employer needed better.

Up 50 Down 3

Charlie's Aunt on Jul 11, 2020 at 2:50 pm

I always expect to pay a bit more locally, but don't try and gouge me. 30 years ago we had wonderful local clothing stores in town offering quality clothing and service but the owners retired. Recent replacements never matched up. We had a great quality shoe store with prices similar to those outside, but the market it catered to changed under new ownership & now closed for whatever reason. Now we have few places except big box for clothing or shoes so, knowing the sizes of brands I like I will shop on-line if I can't find what I want locally.
What does Chamber expect us to buy, apart from office supplies, furniture, hardware & food; most of us are not in the market for trinkets and souvenirs. Some small businesses do cater to needs, but we need businesses that sell what people are looking for at reasonable prices with good service.

Up 39 Down 4

Too True on Jul 10, 2020 at 10:39 pm

@yukoner 72 - You are definitely right. I do feel like we should support the small mom and pop shops but those folks who own a conglomerate of stores around town, not so much. They are no better than the big box stores. I know one family that has places in France and Victoria, not to mention a massive yacht down there all the while telling the rest of us living in Yukon to "shop local".

How exactly does it help to 'shop local' aside from ensuring a few of their employees continue to make the same low wages? When they make money, they use it to pay their bills and pay their employees the bare minimum the market demands. Anything above that base amount to keep the business running gets spent in Victoria or France. This simply sucks a large amount of money out of our Yukon economy.

And this is fine and fair actually. But don't preach to everyone else about "buying local" because your business is some paragon of virtue to our way of life. If that were true you wouldn't be depositing so much money outside of our territory.

Up 18 Down 7

One One-Lesser-Voice on Jul 10, 2020 at 9:07 pm

Lots of ranting. I buy local if price is close to larger stores.
I want to see small business employees treated well which means higher wages.

I want service and not local business workers gossiping until you wait for them to be finished. We should have same wages for FTWs and locals but there should not be working poor due to poor wages.

Up 15 Down 6

TheHammer on Jul 10, 2020 at 6:01 pm

I always shop local. What else is there? However, there are some things only found outside. And the outside shopping options on line are getting cheaper. This is it, competition, free trade, the world is your oyster. As for what color the worker is, if you let that go to your head and pocket you are walking on thin ice. We live in a multiracial society, and that's not about to change unless you end immigration and send everyone back to where they came from.

Up 27 Down 7

Jayne W on Jul 10, 2020 at 5:45 pm

The TWF's are not cheaper, the wages for the positions are posted online. Yukon Residents can apply too, but as I said before they have to work, show up, be presentable, reliable, and not expect a YTG paycheck working retail or in the hospitality industry. Just a side note, I know in my shopping experience quite often I can show them what I can get a certain product for elsewhere, and they price match. I offer more support to the businesses I see quite often donating to clubs and charities throughout the year. But my shopping habits really have not changed and don't buy just to buy something.

Up 33 Down 15

JC on Jul 10, 2020 at 4:39 pm

Northern Girl. You hit the nail right smack on the head. It's not racist to tell the truth. In the last 20 years, the white Yukoner labour force went from majority to minority. And I mean micro minority. I was thinking the other day, where did all the white Yukoners go? Are they all in university? Or on welfare?

Up 28 Down 6

woodcutter on Jul 10, 2020 at 4:28 pm

Buy local...I do

Beer, herbs, parts and supplies for my saw. A visit to the big box store for a monthly fill up of grub, parts and tires for the equipment, annual purchase of work boots, winter gear, take out chicken when I need to drive the 2 hours home. What else can I do for the merchants? There is a concept of saving for retirement, emergency and rainy days and just because it's prudent and provides me and my family with a feeling of security, however I will not spend in local businesses just to prop them up. I've never purchased an over priced vehicle from a local dealer and if it's not an emergency, I will order from online sources to save a few bucks, and no, we are not in this all together. I have never had someone order a load of wood, because they know it's slow this time of year and they want to give me a break, folks buy, because they know it's the time of year that savings are to be had.

How about the local business's try to entice us, with giving their customers a break?

Up 36 Down 8

Yukoner ‘71 on Jul 10, 2020 at 3:04 pm

Obi, oh yes I neglected to mention the other classic Whitehorse business owner cop-out. “Everyone works for the government anyways so therefore my business doesn’t have to try and offer good service.” It’s right up there with “What other choice do people have anyways, where else are they going to shop?” You’ve nailed the typical Whitehorse business owners attitude to a T where everyone needs to get their head out of their A— because I’m so great I own a business and I go jetting off around the globe twice a year - or at least I did pre-Covid courtesy of my 200% markups.

Up 39 Down 4

Nope on Jul 10, 2020 at 1:22 pm

I'll buy groceries locally only because I don't have any other choice

Shopping downtown is an exercise in frustration. Public transit is an abomination, you can't even get downtown on Whitehorse showpiece neighbourhood; Whistlebend. Zero parking downtown. Inflated retail prices. Many local businesses won't hire local but opt for TFW so they can maximize profits and exploit those people at the same time.

This Chamber is the same group that fought tooth and nail against raising minimum wage. They would pay workers less if they legally could. Imagine that, then they ask locals to support them.

I don't think so.

Up 17 Down 6

Sheepchaser on Jul 10, 2020 at 9:34 am

No. Whitehorse is priced for their lifestyles and their toys. They’ve been stripping out equity from their businesses for years. Any competent business manager with solid customer relationships and whose services are more than decadence is doing fine.

I ship up a pallet of consumables from Edmonton for our household once a year. Grow, sprout, forage and hunt for fresh food. Unlimited satellite internet for home and business use. Enough solar-to-grid power to zero out the power bill and property tax over the year. No mortgage or debt because I live within my means.

But I should bail out.

Up 31 Down 3

DA on Jul 10, 2020 at 8:52 am

I can understand why local prices are higher and will occasionally buy a local product in an effort to support local businesses. I won't get serious about buying local, however, until prices are a little more competitive.

Up 9 Down 3

YukonMax on Jul 10, 2020 at 8:38 am

@ yukoner'71
Amen to that!

Up 32 Down 12

Northern girl on Jul 9, 2020 at 9:28 pm

What about those same businesses hiring local instead of firing locals to hire TFWs because they are cheaper? I shop small businesses who are supporting their families and keeping their same workers, not firing or laying them off only to hire a cheaper replacement. If you cannot fill a position, that’s one thing but I’ve seen far too many layoffs of late get replaced by honest TFWs. That’s the quick way to lose my business.

Up 24 Down 23

Obi on Jul 9, 2020 at 9:10 pm

Sounds to me like you commenters may be one Government or another employed.
What you fail to realize is, the business owner will probably survive without your money, but the employees of said business will not.....
Nice to have guaranteed incomes, pensions, etc. Get your heads out of your a** and join the real world!

Up 7 Down 5

Always Questions on Jul 9, 2020 at 8:57 pm

Which Chamber, I got confused? Probably doesn't matter, collaboration, co-ordination, information exchange is key right now. 100% support supporting local best I can.

Up 23 Down 5

Hard NO! ×2 on Jul 9, 2020 at 6:28 pm

I'll continue with Amazon...!

Up 38 Down 3

Jake the Bosun on Jul 9, 2020 at 6:22 pm

Yeah, we know, holding inventory is expensive, and freight is high, and store-front overhead is expensive, and.....
Thank goodness for all that Government money that pours in, you did well focusing on them up to now. But, now shaming me into buying here when up to now I have been ignored, insulted and even treated abusively is laughable.
I'm the guy your store clerk ignored in the shoe department. I'm they guy who you 'special ordered" for at 400% over retail, I'm also the guy your service manager called immature and not to come back when I complained about charging for work not done.

Up 54 Down 12

Jc on Jul 9, 2020 at 4:31 pm

I'll buy local when local competes with outside prices. Until then, I have to go where the best prices are. Sorry Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce.

Up 69 Down 7

Yukoner ‘71 on Jul 9, 2020 at 3:14 pm

Hey businesses, how about you do your part by returning customers phone calls and e-mail inquiries about your products. Here’s another novel idea, actually pick up a phone when it rings instead of just letting it go to voice mail which you then never reply to. Don’t have an irritated tone to your voice when dealing with customers and don’t act like the customer you’re currently speaking to is just inconveniently taking up your valuable time.
We all know you want the easiest transaction possible which is a customer just taking an item to your till and tapping their visa before leaving, but how about you act like you care about providing some level of service? Case in point I was at a dealership the other day and overheard the salespeople arguing amongst themselves because none of those fat cats wanted to deal with a customer who they knew was bringing back a high value item and wanted some service for his defective multi thousand dollar purchase. The salespeople talked like they knew the guy was right and no one wanted to deal with him, that behaviour is so typical anymore.
I will partly remember Covid as the time when some businesses finally gave themselves permission to simply stop all pretense of supplying customer service. Customers are simply supposed to be grateful you exist and hand over inflated sums of currency for an item that in some way slightly resembles what they started out to buy when they went shopping. For the last few years I’ve viewed shopping in Whitehorse as an ordeal to simply get through when I absolutely have no choice but to go. I used to enjoy the shopping experience here in years past but not anymore and Covid has made the experience even worse.

Up 27 Down 8

Josey Wales on Jul 9, 2020 at 2:41 pm

Oh yes...shop local, many TFW's and their employers are counting on your support.

Up 45 Down 18

John on Jul 9, 2020 at 1:50 pm

No and no. If all of sudden some these local businesses can't survive "one year" less than perfect business and if they didn't plan for potential hardship then I'm sorry but maybe it's too late. We are headed into a societal shift and if the businesses don't adapt or haven't adapted by now....

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