This article was first published by Kaitlin Grovet For the Globe
Society demands that we shop. The food that we eat, clothes that we wear, and accessories we use, all must be purchased. But have you ever given thought about where all that merchandise comes from? Unfortunately, it is most likely not from a local business. For most people of Lacombe, it has become more economically efficient to purchase needed items in large retail stores. With this becoming the trend, many small to medium-sized businesses in the local area are treading on thin ice trying to stay afloat. Most people don’t realize the negative economic impact of this, as only 13% of the money spent at these large box stores stays in the community whereas three times that amount remains when shopping at smaller local stores. But it is hard to blame the community for this, since the reality is that when there is an option to save money, many people will take it.
Fortunately a new opportunity for both the buyer and the seller in a small community has recently emerged. Landon Ritchey, both former owner of small businesses and a local shopper, helped to discover a way to keep community members’ hard-earned money in the community itself. But is it possible to benefit both small business owners and shoppers at once? Ritchey believed it is, and with this hope, began the first steps to help organize the Canadian Shoppers Club (CSC).
Canadian Shoppers Club is a private not for profit shopping club, which has the makings and desire to quickly become a household name with all the advantages it provides. Its goal is to provide savings and cash back rebates to shoppers, while providing more business for merchants. Designed for any consumer who might spend as little as $100 a month, Canadian Shoppers Club provides rebates to its members created from shopping, however, providing larger rebates when supporting merchants affiliated with their club. Any person who decides to join pays a $25 monthly membership fee, and in turn receives all the privileges of the club including a personalized international pre-paid card that can be used whenever shopping at a store associated with CSC.
Once you start shopping at local businesses with this card, you can begin receiving discounts and rebates back on everything you purchase. What makes this opportunity especially attractive is that the rebates offered do not stop, but continue to grow monthly.
Canadian Shoppers Club is comprised of more than just shoppers. In order for CSC to make a full functional circle, small businesses need to take part as well. Korsh Spinal Health & Wellness, Hairapy, Just Pizza, Leto’s Steak and Seafood House, Lacombe Florists & Gifts, Pharmasave, Lacombe, Ponoka, Hanna, and Coronation Vision Centre, and Strand Media Corporation are just a cross-section of the businesses that are already merchant affiliates with Canadian Shoppers Club.
This idea is not confined to the regions of Lacombe, however. Neither is it confined to Alberta, or even Canada. This club is spreading out to all areas of the world. Working alongside Ritchey and fellow founders, these ingenious men have managed to grow the Shoppers Club worldwide, reaching places such as Slovakia and Hungary. Although the details of this are still being ironed out, it is on the way to becoming a worldwide phenomenon that Lacombe is most fortunate enough to be a part of, at the beginning.
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