The Canora Economic Development Commission (CEDC) held a second meeting at the Town of Canora office on May 29.
The meeting shared the work completed by the CEDC since the initial meeting, said Ben Sipple, community development officer and CEDC member.
Other CEDC members are: Al Babb, Sylvia Sanderson, Councillor Sheldon Derkatch, Jeff Bisschop and Brandi Zavislak.
Sipple said there were several goals for the meeting.
“We were there to review the goals set by the CEDC, which were taken directly from our local businesses through the Business Profile responses; review the work completed by the CEDC since our last local business meeting in January and encourage local businesses to engage the CEDC by reaching out to us,” he said.
Sipple encouraged local businesses to study the most recent census data to better understand the community as a way of determining where they fit and how that position can be improved.
He suggested not focusing too much on actual numbers, but rather on trends, as a way of preparing for the future.
“Canora’s population is fairly steady at around 2,000,” said Sipple. “But significant increases are happening in the group aged 50 to 64 and in the group under 14. That may create opportunities for your business.”
He said another exciting Canora trend for many businesses is that the median annual income has increased from $30,000 to approximately $48,000 over the past 10 years.
Among the obstacles mentioned by Canora businesses in the Business Profile responses was maintaining brick and mortar stores in the face of challenges from online markets. Work done by the CEDC suggested Canora businesses should study the possibility of utilizing online spaces and resources.
Sipple said feedback suggested that local customers needed to be educated with updates of accurate ideas of consumption and costs to encourage shopping Canora.
“Many people say Canora is too expensive,” he said. “But the latest research shows that every time you drive somewhere, your total cost is 50 cents per kilometre. So a drive to Yorkton and back costs $50. And when it comes to money spent locally, $68 out of every $100 will come back to Canora. We all need to make an effort educate the people of Canora.”
After a number of local businesses indicated the challenges of maintaining a business in a competitive environment, the CEDC is working on creating a Canora business information guide to help overcome these challenges. Sipple encouraged those at the meeting to make sure that the guide includes up-to-date information on their businesses.
A very real challenge expressed by a number of local businesses is the need for a courier service. The CEDC is researching best advertising options to overcome this challenge.
Sipple said the thought has been expressed by many in the Canora business community that there is a need for an anchor business, a major business that will drive activity to smaller Canora businesses. The CEDC has been talking to nearby RMs in an effort to work together on this issue while at the same time avoiding unnecessary competition.
Sipple encouraged local businesses to keep in touch with the CEDC.
“The CEDC is committed to our business community and will assist local businesses in their efforts,” he concluded.
Since Sipple’s term as community development officer concluded as of May 31, Brandi Zavislak will be the contact person for the CEDC going forward.