National Small Business Week just took place between Oct. 19th and Oct. 25th. The intent of this week was to highlight the importance of and contributions by the small and medium sized businesses in our communities and in the Alberta economy.
Blackfalds has been experiencing record-breaking growth over the past two years; not only in population and housing, but also in new business development and expansion. Business investors are seeing and taking advantage of the many opportunities that exist in the community and this has brought about many positive quality of life benefits for the residents, including increased access to required services and desired products.
I have tremendous respect for those entrepreneurial individuals who have the risk tolerance, drive and determination to be their own boss. From Grant and Denise Nielsen at Granden Auto who have been in business in Blackfalds for over 15 years to Lindsey Dowler at The Floral Boutique who only just opened her dream business this past April, our small business owners are an important cornerstone of our community who meet the needs of local clients and also serve the requirements of larger business.
Many of the small businesses in Blackfalds provide a full range of local and often flexible employment opportunities to residents. For example, a business that may primarily be considered to be in the manufacturing sector not only creates jobs for tradespersons and labourers, but also for administrative staff, managers, accountants, marketing and communications personnel, truck drivers, and maintenance people, etc. Social enterprises like After the Grind and the Blackfalds Bottle Depot provide valuable work experience for individuals with barriers who may be finding it challenging to attain and retain employment with other employers. Our local small serviceoriented businesses also serve as a springboard to launching many great professional careers, including physicians, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, in addition to providing the much needed services required by our residents.
Additionally, our local businesses are amazing supporters of the volunteer efforts of our citizens. During the months of November and December, residents can donate their bottles to the Blackfalds Christmas Bureau by dropping them off at the donation bin in front of the Blackfalds Bottle Depot and too many local businesses to list are currently assisting to raise funds for the Blackfalds Food Bank and the Programs, Admissions, and Sports Subsidy Program by means of cash donations or silent auction items. I cannot thank our local businesses enough for all they do to for the not-for-profit and recreational organizations in the community. The outstanding generosity shown by small businesses in Blackfalds and area throughout each and every year is phenomenal.
The Town of Blackfalds Economic Development and Tourism Board and the Blackfalds Chamber of Commerce are currently accepting nominations for the 2014 Business of the Year Awards. This year’s award program will recognize businesses in three categories: Service, Retail and Community Spirit. The nomination forms are available at over 40 local business locations or can be accessed and submitted on the Town of Blackfalds web site. Please don’t miss this opportunity as a resident to say thank you to and recognize the business owners who do so much to make our Town the fantastic place that it is. Business of the Year nominations are being accepted until Nov. 10th and the presentations to the 2014 award winners will take place at 6 p.m. on Nov. 25th at the Civic Centre.
Another means for supporting our local small businesses is to take advantage of the Blackfalds Chamber of Commerce Passport to Christmas program. This much anticipated annual ‘think local first’ campaign runs from Nov. 1st until Dec. 19th and encourages purchases at participating local businesses. This year there are 41 local businesses participating and as a result, more prizes than ever before will be awarded, so be sure to ask for your passport when you are shopping in Blackfalds this holiday season.
Melodie Stol is the mayor of Blackfalds.