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LETTER: Look at reasons folks aren’t shopping locally


Your editorial Nov. 29, 'Buying habits dictate your local choice' brought to mind my Dad's advice when he would say, "Ralph, there are three sides to every argument - yours, mine and the right side."

The editorial presented one side; I'll present another that I call "Synergy" and the right side is perhaps somewhere in the middle.

Definition - Syn·er·gy (noun) - the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. Synonyms: cooperate.

The editorial presented one side; I'll present another that I call "Synergy" and the right side is perhaps somewhere in the middle.

Definition - Syn·er·gy (noun) - the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. Synonyms: cooperate.

The reason why folks are not shopping local so much anymore and local small retailer 's shops are closing is that, unlike their big box competitors, they have not learned how and thus are failing to compete.  They have failed to properly study the marketplace to see that the big box stores succeed by developing synergy and that they too can develop synergy to capitalize where they have the competitive advantage.  Here are a couple of examples.

After performances at the deCoste Centre in Pictou, crowds of 200-400 will exit around 9:30 pm onto a vacant street of closed commercial shops.  Even Tim Hortons, when it was right next door, would be closed.  Those folk have been attracted to Pictou by the theatre.  They come from all over the County or beyond and our local merchants let them drive away because there is nothing else to do.  I believe that all of our local shops should be open then for an hour or so and that showing your used deCoste Centre ticket for that evening should be good for a 5-10 per cent discount in any of the local stores remaining open to serve them.  That is a way local merchants and the deCoste can develop synergy.

Here's another way.   Our CHAD Transit bus line has recently received approval to develop an inter-town bus route here in Pictou County.  CHAD now needs to find a way to raise the capital for bus purchase as well as to develop suitable routes.  I see this as a perfect, synergy development opportunity for the small merchants in each of our towns - Westville, Stellarton, Trenton - Pictou Landing, New Glasgow and Pictou.

I suggest that the small merchants in each of these areas form a cooperative to jointly purchase a bus for their own area and use it to target the many residents of their area who do not possess their own transportation.  The big box stores like Walmart, the malls and Superstore all provide lots of parking because they target market the driving public.  But when you think about our many seniors, students and others in the communities who do not possess their own transportation, that leaves a healthy target market for the local downtown retailers and other businesses to go after.

The cooperative in each area could develop the route to make it convenient for this group to ride their bus and to ensure that every run of the bus would include the bus stops needed to make shopping in their stores convenient.  As free or low cost advertising for the members of the bus owning cooperative, they could also provide those riding their bus with a daily write-up of the merchandise and specials being offered  by those merchants and businesses in the cooperative.

If I were developing the new CHAD Transit bus line, I would think synergy.  I'd have CHAD hire the drivers and run the line; I'd have local businesses purchase, own, maintain the buses and select the routing; I'd have a one cost for all passenger fare (including transfers) system with a weekly or monthly pass system calculated to cover salaries and administration; I'd have government purchase bus passes for those who are receiving social assistance and of course, I'd insist that all the CHAD Transit run buses remain wheelchair accessible.

Think synergy,

Ralph Ferguson

Pictou

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