Editorial: Can we save money, the planet and local business?

Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce president speaks out.

Recently I have been asked by several local business owners, here in Sooke of what our plans are for 2012 and for the ensuing term as the new president of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce.

Well, for many years the chamber has promoted ‘Shop Local.’ Local… that’s us, Sooke!   Our home! This is where our family and friends live!

For all the chamber’s members that’s an important issue! Too many local residents either don’t know what businesses are available here, or they would rather take their business elsewhere on Vancouver Island or even to the Mainland, or on several daily occasions, have mobile, out-of-town businesses, come from wherever and whenever and from all over.  Don’t forget the internet. Most purchases involve freight and some involve custom costs and exchange. None of your purchase price and or costs stays here at home.

In most instances, that’s just not necessary!

For example, if you decide you’re going to Victoria to buy a widget or have an out-of-town business bring you that widget, you might learn later that this same widget or widget service was available here in your own home town.  And if you buy it or get it done here by local business, you save money! How? Fuel, oil, tire and automobile wear and tear, time and pollution! That’s right  — pollution.

Imagine if 10,000 residents decide to drive or bus to get a widget or a service done from out-of-town. Imagine the carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulfur (to name a few) disbursed into our precious atmosphere. Multiply that by 365 days per year. Fuel is $1.10 per litre right now! If only one liter of fuel was spent to and from, that would equal $4 million dollars per year. Most vehicles use more then one liter to and from, don’t you think?

If you want to help your town but don’t know who or what is available, what can you do?  Well, first of all you can call the chamber office and ask who they could recommend from the Sooke business membership (in good standing). We are getting very close to 200 companies serving the Sooke Region. There you can get a detailed description of local contacts.

Where else? A lot of firms have web sites for your inquiries via email.How about the Sooke Lions Club Business Directory? You can also ask other businesses who they could recommend. If they are a member of the local chamber then they will have a business contact book called the Membership Directory Or visit:  info@sookeregionchamber.com.

You live here, you can buy here, dine here, get repairs here and play here. Why there?

Some things we just don’t have: like a movie theatre, car wash, laundromat and other missing needs. In due time, those businesses will come, providing jobs for us and our children, as so many local businesses do now. Save your money, save your planet, save time and save your local businesses. It makes cents.

What else is on the plate? As a chamber we have many events like the Annual Business Awards, the Annual Golf Tournament, Monthly Mixers, Economic Development, Christmas Santa Parade, with hard work from committees we will hopefully see the Christmas Sail Pass return in 2012, working closely with Sooke Regional Tourism and the District of Sooke, educational and professional development, Women’s Wellness Conference and possibly more to come. And like most organizations in Sooke the Chamber is run primarily by volunteers with one paid staff member.

Thank you so much for taking the time and remember to support your local businesses as they support you. And I wish you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Kel Phair, President Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce.