The Tsuut’ina Nation launched its first annual Christmas market this weekend and it couldn’t have come at a more important time for small businesses struggling to recover from financial losses during the COVID pandemic. 19.
Christmas at the Nation features 75 local vendors, more than half of which are owned by Indigenous people.
The market takes place on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. where kiosks have been set up inside the 7 Chiefs Sportsplex and the Chief Jim Starlight Center.
âIt is so important to support local businesses, especially at this time, due to the COVID pandemic, when many companies have been hit hard by their sales,â said Cieran Starlight, head of marketing communications at Taza. Development Corp., the sponsor. of the event.
âWe really wanted to create an opportunity where these companies can have that more personal touch. “
The opportunity is particularly attractive to local businesses like Wild Rose Creations, which sells handcrafted pearls.
Owner Alberta Otter says 85 to 90 percent of her sales come from in-person trade shows, many of which have been closed for months.
“It hit me so hard because my business supports me and my kids and not being able to go out and do events like this hinders our ability to buy groceries, clothes. , stuff like that, âOtter said.
“I noticed before that people were afraid to come meet me for a melee exchange, we had to adjust to more internet sales, but the easing of the restrictions really helps local artists like me.”
Vendors like Roy Clissold, owner of Odawa Studio, which specializes in making stained glass items, immediately saw their sales increase due to the market.
âI’ve been here an hour and a half and have already exceeded my expected sales for the whole day,â he said.
âSo many people struggle, it’s pathetic how they do in this atmosphere, but we mainly sell at shows where you can touch and smell the product and I think that’s what most people are looking for. people.
ALBERTA SMALL BUSINESS CALL FOR EASE IN COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS
According to a recent survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), about 66 percent of small business owners in Alberta say that if the current restrictions are maintained, it will significantly hurt their bottom line.
CFIB Alberta Director Annie Dormuth is now calling on the provincial government to remove third-party capacity restrictions on retail businesses or allow them to access the 2-tier restriction waiver program grant. $ 000.
âWe hear that almost 70 percent of small businesses in Alberta have indicated that this capacity restriction is hurting their business,â Dormuth said.
“And of course, retail businesses are worried again about the restrictions in place whereby customers have pretty much switched to online shopping, instead of in-person shopping.”
CFIB says half of Alberta’s small businesses were less profitable during the 2020 holiday season compared to 2019. On top of that, 84% fear customers are spending less this year and only 40% are optimistic that this year’s holiday season will be more profitable than last year.
Prime Minister Jason Kenney is expected to announce an easing of COVID-19 restrictions in an announcement on Tuesday.
He made no mention, however, of removing the one-third capacity restriction for small businesses in Alberta.
“I can tell you that with my own family I am going to reunite with three family members all together, we are all fully vaccinated, we come from three households, only four people, but we would not be able to. make Christmas based on the current rules, âKenney said Friday.
“I don’t want to create a situation where millions of Albertans are breaking the rules when we are not in a current emergency, so this is what we are looking at on Tuesday, we will be very clear and this information will be be available next week.