CHAMBER CHATTER: Local businesses important to community

It’s easy to forget how important our local businesses are to the fabric of our community

CHAMBER CHATTER: Local businesses important to community

Where would we be without local businesses?

The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce recently hosted the 17th annual Business Excellence Awards. There were 134 businesses from the region nominated and more than 160 people attending the celebration.

It is an uplifting event, that happens once a year, bringing together many in our business community to formally recognize and thank them for their contributions.

It’s easy to forget how important our local businesses are to the fabric of our community but have you ever been part of a fundraiser for a sports team, event, or organization? If so, you’ve most likely asked a local business for support by way of sponsorship, a prize or product. Have you or someone you know been employed by a local business? If so, you probably know many of our businesses do their best to hire local first. Do you use the roads, parks, or have kids in school? If so, you’ve benefited from businesses paying a higher rate of property taxes than residents.

It’s easy to think of businesses as faceless corporate entities out to gouge the public but the reality in Sooke is that on any given day, in any given business, the person who is helping you is most likely the owner of that business. These are people who, against all rational thought, decided to risk it all to open shop to meet the needs of our community; to serve you. They have names like Sarah, Bruce, Cathy, David, Karim, Nel, Andy, Melissa. They have families, personal financial responsibilities, and daily struggles just like you.

These business owners work hard every day. They have invested thousands of their own dollars and countless hours of their time to try to “make it.” In a town where the commercial rental rates are on par with Victoria but the sales are a fraction, where residents often shop outside of the community out of ease and financial necessity, and where shipping costs are significantly higher due to Highway 14, operating a business in Sooke is no easy feat.

I’m not asking you to be undiscerning and to shop local no matter what. Businesses of course need to do their part as well.

But know that when you do shop local you’re not only supporting the business owner but you are also supporting other families in need, community events, the food bank, the arts, sports, and many other programs that enrich our lives in Sooke. You are helping to sustain and create employment opportunities where you live and you’re investing in the future of your community.

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Kerry Cavers is the president of the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce.