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Guest editorial — Some cross-border shopping thoughts
This editorial is to express thanks and gratitude to what seems to be an ever-dwindling group within our community.
Sometimes, it is difficult to imagine the B.C./U.S. border as anything other than a bathtub drain — at least when someone has just told you about their great cross-border shopping spree.
Hundreds of thousands of vehicles cross the border in our region every year, with many of them heading south of the 49th parallel to seek out the best deals possible on everything from new TVs to cheese. From a purely personal economic viewpoint, it’s understandable. The price difference, especially with the Canadian dollar sitting near par, can be phenomenal. A recent study by the Business Council of B.C. found that the price difference on cheese, for example, is up to 60 per cent cheaper in the U.S.
That same study found that in 2012, as much as $2.6 billion from the province was spent in cross-border shopping.
People who cross-border shop will point out that you can’t argue the economics of it.
For many, times could be considered tough at the moment. Some area storefronts are empty. Some people don’t have jobs, and yet the people who routinely take their money across the border don’t seem to be able to relate their actions to the local economy.
Money that stays in your community tends to have a multiplier effect. You spend $5 at a local merchant, that merchant uses that $5 at another merchant and so on, generating much more value with each transaction. Taking your money out of the community does just that — it removes the money from the community.
This is not to berate those who shop across the border occasionally. It is to thank those who have given the cross-border shopping situation some thought. Congratulations on being a thoughtful, community-minded driver of the local economy.
—Kootenay News Advertiser