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DownTown, DownTown (Posted On: Monday, December 15, 2008)

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Downtown, no finer place for sure, Downtown, everything's waiting for you*

Despite the number of people who tell you they do their Christmas shopping early, this is still a very busy time for retailers. The last handful of shopping days before Christmas brings out the shoppers and their Christmas lists.

Ed Christie has been a store owner in Downtown Collingwood for almost 32 years. He has been always been a strong supporter of the community and a driving force behind the sculpting of Collingwood’s downtown into a Heritage District. This December he says the world economy is making it tough on everyone, and it highlights the importance of having people think local.

Christie says this year it is very important that the money residents have to spend on the holiday’s is spent locally. “There are going to be some testy times ahead and one of the ways to help the community is shop in the community.” Christie says that for many merchants the month of December is when they do 25 percent or more of their annual business.

Heading into this Christmas season retailers had reason to be nervous, the economy has been behaving in ways that none of us are really familiar with. We have seen economic slowdowns before, but this time all of the experts seem to be trying to ready us for something worse.

Christie says you have to be a realist, “There are going to be tough times, but you have to find the positives. We know there will be another side to this downturn, and the goal is to be there when things improve. To a point we can help each other by supporting each other” Downtown, don't wait a minute more, Downtown, everything's waiting for you* Christie says even with the economic slow down there will still be Christmas shopping, and Collingwood can help itself by spending money on itself. “The retailers in Downtown Collingwood offer a great selection,” says Christie. “We can meet anybody’s needs, fill anyone’s Christmas list. We really do have that much to offer in the downtown.”

If you are the type of person who normally fills up the gas tank then drives to places like Barrie, Owen Sound or Toronto to do your Christmas shopping, Christie points out that you are giving away money.

“You have to factor in your travel costs. Imagine what you can do with the money from a tank or two of gas. And of course when you park downtown and stroll down Hurontario Street it is a lot less stressful than driving on crowded streets.”

You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and go Downtown, things'll be great when you're Downtown*

Christie says you can’t ignore what is happening in today’s economy but it doesn’t mean you have to be pessimistic about it. “As I said you know it will turn around, so for now do the things that will help.” Christie says spending locally creates a positive feeling locally. He says that in turn shows the vitality of the area, which in turn creates more confidence in business owners, investors and consumers.

“The downtown is the biggest employer in Collingwood. The money you spend here helps pay local salaries, and that money can be put back into the town. Once you take the money outside of the town it is gone. It really is that simple, when you shop local you are helping your community in so many ways.”

Christie says that along with supporting jobs locally shopping in the downtown is about supporting the community. “Take a look around and see how much a downtown merchant does for Collingwood. They help minor sports, they support the hospital, they are members of service clubs and they support fundraisers with donations. The money you spend downtown does help all of Collingwood.”

“We are at the heart of the community,” says Christie, “not just in the physical sense because of our location but because of what the downtown gives back to Collingwood.”

Christie says the one other thing that Downtown Collingwood offers is a chance to connect with the community. “When you shop downtown there aren’t too many times when you don’t run into someone you know. It is like an extended neighbourhood, and shopping downtown is a way to help your neighbour. It is what a small town is all about.”

Downtown, things'll be great when you're Downtown, don't wait a minute more, Downtown, everything's waiting for you…..*

* taken from the song “Downtown” Petula Clark 1964 (lyrics by Tony Hatch)

Written by Dale West for mycollingwood.ca

Photos: Julie Card

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