News / Halifax

'The most important time of year:' businesses hope Halifax shoppers buy local this weekend

It’s the weekend before Christmas, and all through HRM local stores are hoping shoppers drop in to spend some holiday cash on unique gifts - and maybe picking up a story or piece of Westeros.

For the past few months, Gillian Wesley of The Local Traveler blog has been compiling dozens of gift ideas on The Local Wishlist to help shoppers locate funky finds for all price ranges to keep dollars in the local economy.

“We’ve heard a lot of talk this year about making Halifax … more of an entrepreneurial place, but it’s important to support the entrepreneurs that we have right now,” Wesley said Thursday.

There’s a misconception that gifts from local stores or homemade products are quite expensive, Wesley said, but part her list showcases gifts from $16-$50.

For Game of Thrones fans, Wesley said putting An Oddity or Two magnets of Westeros characters, Bad Mouth Soap’s Valyrian Steel, and Foxy Frog Scents’ Mother of Dragon’s candle together could net around $35.

“You can actually talk to the person who made it and why they decided to do that,” Wesley said. “I think that … connects us more as a community.”

For Charlotte Jewer, owner of Kept on Portland Street in Dartmouth, this has been a “super busy” time as more businesses pop up in the downtown area and create a draw for shoppers.

“It’s the most important time of year for sure,” Jewer said from the gift store featuring handmade art, jewelry and items like driftwood Christmas trees, reindeer mugs or throw pillows featuring the harbour ferry.

A low Canadian dollar might also keep shoppers spending here instead of ordering online from American stores or driving across the border and losing out in the transaction, said Jim Cormier, director of the Atlantic branch of the Retail Council of Canada.

This brings an advantage for small retailers with products created inside the province because they don’t have to shell out in international shipping costs, he said.

But overall, Cormier said shopping at local department stores like Mills or big-box stores also supports local employees.

“It’s always important to support the retailers in your community,” he said.