Jillian Rutherford and Andrew Hayden - owners of the Fernie Distillers. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Jillian Rutherford and Andrew Hayden - owners of the Fernie Distillers. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Shopping local more important than ever

Spending dollars in the Elk Valley keeps businesses open and workers employed

With travel advisories, bans on gatherings and indoor sports given the axe (for now), communities around British Columbia are looking inward to support local businesses and each other.

Brad Parsell of the Fernie Chamber of Commerce says that with the new orders, “we need to triple down on shop local.”

For every $100 spent at locally-owned businesses, $63 is re-circulated back through the local economy compared with only $14 for multinational companies.

Owners of local business Fernie Distillers, Andrew Hayden and Jillian Rutherford said that it was more than just dollars.

”I think its probably the most important time to support local businesses now because of what we’re all going through,” said Hayden.

“Trying to support your neighbour and help your neighbour is even stronger today,” he said, explaining that locals can find almost everything they need here in the Elk Valley.

“Yes there’s sacrifices because (local stores) can’t stock everything that everyone wants, but I think its important to make sure we’re all helping each other out on a really macro level.”

Rutherford said it was about keeping locals at work.

“I feel by keeping the money local you’re keeping more of your community employed.”

While Fernie Distillers was able to pivot during the pandemic and make hand sanitizer for a time before returning to traditional operations, Rutherford said that despite all the hardship, all of Fernie had an opportunity to come out ahead.

“Fernie has the opportunity to come out the other side of the pandemic in pretty decent shape if we keep supporting each other.”

Louise Ferguson of the Arts Station said that the danger to local businesses and artists was dire.

“Obviously everyone’s been hit hard during this period, but artists have really been hit very hard. Because of all the restrictions in place, a lot of them can’t do what they would traditionally do to sell their work,” she said, given that arts fairs had all been cancelled.

“Local artists also support the community – our organization provides opportunities for kids to learn new skills and come to workshops, and the artists are the ones that are making that happen, so we want to make sure that they are being supported during this time and when we can get back to a bit more of a normal, they’ll still be there. If they can’t continue to create then they might not survive this period and we’re going to be seeing a lot less creativity in our community.”

READ MORE: Giant Santa fundraises for EIDES’s Breakfast Buddies program



scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Shop Local

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, updates British Columbians about COVID-19 at a press conference earlier this week. (B.C. Government image)
B.C.’s 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed a year ago today

Here’s a look at some of the key dates in the province’s fight against the novel coronavirus

The data from the latest BCCDC reporting period. Image courtesy of B.C. Centre for Disease Control
Cluster mostly confined to Fernie: Sparwood Mayor

David Wilks said only a handful of cases were elsewhere in the Elk Valley

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Interior Health reports 2 more deaths, 83 new COVID-19 cases

Health authority also identifies new virus cluster in Fernie

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
South Columbia Search and Rescue called in the Nelson Search and Rescue and Kootenay Valley Helicopters to provide a long line rescue. Photo: BCSAR submitted.
Long-line rescue needed for injured hiker near Trail

Members of South Columbia and Nelson SAR and Kootenay Valley Helicopters did a long-line evacuation

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Grad student Marisa Harrington and her supervisor Lynneth Stuart-Hill say preliminary results from a study into the affects of stress on hospital nurses show an impact on sleep and heart variability. (Courtesy of Marisa Harrington)
University of Victoria study shows stress impact on B.C. nurses

Stress may be impacting sleep, heart health of hospital nurses in Victoria region

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Most Read