Tom Thomson of the Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce said the customer appreciation event on November 29 was a success.

Grassroots shopping event successful

Fifty-five local businesses participated in the annual promotion.

The annual Customer Appreciation event held in Nelson on Saturday, November 29 continued a seven-year grassroots tradition that encourages residents to shop local.

“From the feedback we’ve heard, it was a great success,” said Michael Borch, owner of Baker Street Menswear.

Fifty-five businesses participated in the promotion this year, which was originally started by Chris Dawson to battle the popularity of Black Friday south of the border.

As part of the promotion, local businesses offered special discounts and deals for the entire day.

“It just keeps growing year after year,” said Tom Thomson, executive director of the Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce.

“Most businesses realize their local customers are their bread and butter throughout the year, and this is a way to keep that money circulating locally.”

Thomson said the pressures of the Internet and cross-border shopping have put a strain on local businesses, but they’re beginning to adapt.

For instance, Judy Banfield of Mountain Baby has started to grow her business model by taking some of her business online.

The chamber of commerce is offering customer service workshops and introducing new technologies to business owners, so they can take advantage of them and stay competitive.

“If you look at why a person should shop locally, one of them is truly customer service and the ability to talk directly, face-to-face, with the business,” he said.

Borch said he hopes the event will continue to grow.

“Every year we manage to expand the reach a bit. Next year we’ve got more ideas to make shopping local easier,” he said.