Emery retail under siege

By Sean Delaney

Shopping local means enjoying, sharing and supporting small businesses in Emery Village.

Buying local also means recommending businesses and sharing your positive experiences. Share on social media with your friends and your followers so they can see that you’re proud to support local business, and they should be too.

In our current unsettled times, it will be a challenge for many of our local Emery retail businesses to succeed in this pandemic. Obviously, through no fault of their own. Retail Mainstreet has been under siege for many years, in part, due to technology, pricing, supply and delivery, and logistics.

Emery is home to many 1960’s strip malls that currently house hundreds of both retail businesses and residential apartments. You can see examples along Weston Road, Finch Avenue and Islington Avenue. Behind most of those “Open” for business neon signs stands an independent owner of a small business. As many others do, they have worked extremely hard to make a living for their family. They have mortgages and leases, inventory to purchase, work twelve-hour days and likely earn a smaller than expected profit. Looking deeper, they have families to feed, education expenses to pay for, cars to maintain and in many cases they are your neighbours. Their children attend many the local schools and play sports in organized leagues. They are proud members of the Emery community, and when they can, they likely shop locally too.

If you work this process of economic support through, one has to survive to support the other. And when one of the links fail, so do many of the others and so on, and so on and so on. A number of community members are in the same boat. The times are challenging for everyone.

However, the slow process of rebuilding can start. Remember that smiling face of a local Emery business owner, and heed some needed compassion. Think twice before you choose to support a large multinational corporation, especially if the item you are looking for can be sourced locally.

Shopping local is not limited to only purchasing goods and services from within your postal code. If you can't find an item just around the corner, expand your search to an area such as North York, then the city, region, province, or in the end perhaps a “Made in Canada” approach.

Shopping local can extend to online. The City of Toronto along with our local BIA, has been assisting many local businesses to start an online presence.

Choosing to purchase goods through sites such as Etsy, Shopify or local boutique online stores instead of large corporate sites allows you to support the everyday artisan and keeps our local businesses alive. You provide the means for those crafters to continue working hard and doing what they love. Simple changes in online shopping habits can positively change people’s day-to-day lives, and all you have to do is click a mouse.

Making a point to shop local and show your support at least once a week throughout the year will change our community. So when the need arises, stop by a local retailer, check them out and uncover your new favourite places to shop in Emery.