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Retailers are significant contributors to economy


October 23, 2009
By Amanda Ryder

Oct. 23, 2009 – In celebration of Small Business Week, Retail Council of Canada's
Independent Retailer Task Force released the results of a year-long
research initiative into small business retailing in Canada.

In celebration of Small Business Week, Retail Council of Canada's
Independent Retailer Task Force released the results of a year-long
research initiative into small business retailing in Canada. The Task
Force, made up of independent retailers from coast-to-coast held town
hall meetings in all regions of the country.

"The Task Force's final report makes clear the importance
of independent retailing to local economies," said Task Force Chair and
Fredericton retailer, Paul Simmonds. "As I travelled across the country
meeting with my colleagues, I was inspired, impressed and encouraged by
the dedication and professionalism of the owners and operators of small
independent retail. Our industry has much to be proud of and during
this small business week, I salute all those who operate and work in
independent retail in Canada."

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Independent retailers are the forefront of local commerce.
With retail as Canada's largest employer, independent retailers provide
jobs for hundreds of thousands of Canadians, and behind the storefront,
independent retailers generate employment for local accountants,
realtors, security professionals, marketers, technologists and others
who support the sector.

"When Canadians think about small businesses, they should
think retail," said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of Retail
Council of Canada. "Independent retailers are one of the largest blocks
of small businesses in the nation. When independent retailers thrive,
the nation thrives."

In addition to charting the economics of independent
retailing, the Independent Retailer Task Force Report details the
dedication independents have to their communities. Even with the
challenging economic conditions of the last year, independent retailers
according to the task force report, continued to sponsor sports teams,
make donations to school fundraisers, donate goods to food banks, and
volunteer staff time to community causes and hire new employees.

The Task Force's research shows that 91 per cent of
retailers surveyed give back in some way to their communities. In a 12
month period, 84 per cent of retailers surveyed said they gave between
$1,000 and $10,000 to their communities. Twelve per cent gave more than
$10,000 in a year.

The close ties independent retailers have with their
community stems in part from the close ties of the retail business: 71
per cent of independent retailers in Canada operate as a family
business, some representing decades of work and generations of
families.

"The importance of independent retailers goes beyond the
contributions independents make to the economy," said Simmonds. "We are
in many cases the center of activity for communities as well as the key
to vibrant, active and growing neighbourhoods."

RCC launches Independent Retailer division
To recognize the influence independent retailers have on Canada's
social and economic landscape, RCC will launch Independent Retailer, a
division set up to advocate for independent retailers, cultivate best
practices among independents, and find solutions to problems facing
independents across Canada.

In addition to receiving all the benefits of full
membership in RCC, members of Independent Retailer gain access to an
array of services and products designed especially for small
businesses.

Independent Retailer is managed by an advisory committee of
merchants from across Canada. It is chaired by Paul Simmonds,
President, Robert Simmonds Inc., a Fredericton based apparel store.
Additional committee members include:

  • Fred Pritchard, Vice President, Golda's Kitchen Inc., Mississauga, ON
  • Sandra Avery, Owner/Manager, A Special Touch Inc., St. John's, NL
  • Ron Pradinuk, President, Journeys Travel & Leisure Super Centre, Winnipeg, MB
  • Diane Petryna, President, Take A Hike!, Thunder Bay, ON
  • Betsy Thomas, Owner, Bummis, Montreal, QC


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