As the new leader of the Chamber of Commerce for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, I took a hard look at the history and makeup of these communities.
The municipality of Maple Ridge encompasses around ten specific historical areas, each important to the community of 91,000 (2021 Census) we have today. With a diverse cultural background starting with Europeans co-existing in traditional indigenous lands, this area includes at least ten visible minorities making up 15% of Maple Ridge and almost 20% of Pitt Meadows (population of 20,000). First Nations, Métis and Inuit make up between 4-5% in each of the two communities.
As most communities in BC came to be, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows started off in forestry and agriculture. Pitt Meadows with 86% of its land in the BC Agricultural Land Reserve as protected farmland could be called an agricultural town except that 85% of its residents commute to work to other areas. We might then agree that they both could be considered bedroom communities.
This to me is significant. Doesn’t it make sense to support the businesses in the community where you spend all of your relaxation hours? Doesn’t it make sense to support businesses, so they can thrive and give you the conveniences you need?
Our mixed ethnicity make us stronger with diverse foods and cultures we integrate and engage with each other to form better communities. We share so much that we should also share the benefits of buying local.
Buying local means giving business the chance to hire more people, possibly changing a ‘bedroom’ community into a business center. As a business leader, I’m all for that! It’s better for the environment to travel less and certainly better for your budget considering the price of gas.
I’m betting there are more of you out there who believe it’s important to buy local. Do you buy products or services from ‘home-based’ businesses who advertise on Kijiji, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or your local newspaper? One of my focused goals is to bring in the home-based business people into the fold do to speak and help them grow their businesses. They don’t get any more local than that.
Buying local stimulates the economy in our community, but it also gives us the peace of mind that the products we eat and use are made by people we know- it’s called quality control! Americans have seized it as a battle cry when they realized most of their products were manufactured out of the country.
Buying locally also presents a special networking opportunity among businesses. Choosing to buy from other businesses within your community can lead to new connections, special discounts, and the chance to collaborate and support one another’s brands.
My wife and I buy 90% of your food from a company called Spuds.ca. These guys deliver our food to our home, it’s not overpriced like one would assume, it is mainly organically grown and the best part it is all local. From the Victoria Gin, Empress to the fresh beef on our plate and everything in between, it comes from local producers. I’d guess that the products come from less than 75 miles from my home -that’s local!
Need I give more reason to buy local? I’d think that our neighbors or friends the farmers in our communities have suffered a great deal and possible more with floods, cold and the pandemic. It’s time to support them.
Local doesn’t just mean the corner store or the little pizza shop that’s been on the block for 40 years, it also includes the Walmart's, the Telus’ and the Rona’s that had faith in our communities that they could thrive while being good community citizens.
I admit I use Amazon for stuff, but we have a mini Amazon next door, down the street across the road, and they want your business.
Good leadership, stewardship, gives us the faith that things will turn out and benefit our communities if we make the effort – BUY LOCAL!