Shopping Locally in Thunder Bay Keeps our Economy Strong

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Community Spokes is located at 303 Simpson Street
Community Spokes is located at 303 Simpson Street

THUNDER BAY – Our city has some pretty incredible locally owned and operated businesses. Shopping locally, helps make our local economy stronger. Often the very companies who are asked to sponsor or support Shags, sports teams, and local events are right here in the city. Right now with COVID-19, many of those companies are facing increased challenges and costs.

Here are some of the unique companies in our city who if you have not visited recently, you should.

Biking has become a year-round option. Increasingly for fitness and health, people are commuting to work on a bike. There are a lot of really good bike shops in our city. Perhaps the importance of bike shops was evidenced with Ontario listing them as essential services during the first COVID-19 lockdown this spring. Heading into winter, did you know you can get studded bike tires? Winter biking is just like cross-country skiing. You can dress for the weather and get around affordably and wheel on past the gas station.

Community Spokes is located at 303 Simpson Street
Community Spokes is located at 303 Simpson Street

One of our favorites is Community Spokes. Ian’s shop started in “The Hub” on Victoria Avenue in downtown Fort William. Over time his business model of selling new and used bikes and offering both repairs and DIY repairs proved itself as a successful plan. Community Spokes has now re-located to a larger space on Simpson Street. Community Spokes provides a DIY bike repair space, a build your own bike program, bike parts, used bikes for sale/rent, new bikes for sale, volunteering opportunities, and recreation therapy programming for organizations and individuals.

Maire Hardware is another local gem. This long-time local company is your source for a great selection of barbecues, hardware, and paintball guns and supplies. Heading into Maire Hardware is like a trip back to the hardware store of old times. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly. There is almost anything you might need.

This locally owned business has been here for a long time. Perhaps in the rush to big box stores, you forget our locally owned shops? Our message is simple, don’t do that. There is a lot of really amazing products available right here in our city at these local gems. Often instead of shopping online, those rare or hard to find items are right here in Thunder Bay mere minutes away.

Music World Academy
Music World Academy

Simpson Street also features Music World Academy. During the COVID-19 shutdown, this amazing little gem was open for curbside shopping via their website, and offers curbside pick-up.

They not only stock some of the top brands of guitars, all the needs to make music, along with audio equipment, and many items that those in town who are working remotely from the home need for Zoom calls or for your needs. They are not just a music store, but a really solid resource available right here in Thunder Bay.

Lately, it seems we are all increasingly connected to our smartphones, tablets, and computer screens. Did you know locally owned and operated Marnics offer amazing deals on electronics; cell phones, iPads, and tablets, a massive selection of protective cases for your device, and big-screen televisions at reasonable prices. They back their sales up with solid customer service. From their Memorial Avenue location, you can choose from a wide selection of products.

The service is fast and friendly.

Impact Promotion Coffee Mugs
Impact Promotion Coffee Mugs

Are you looking for promotional and branded jackets, jersey’s coffee mugs, or uniforms? Impact Promotions on Victoria Ave is our favourite. John and his staff will go that extra mile to make sure your order is handled properly.

They offer quality products and all of their embroidery is done right here in our city.

Our Thunder Bay

There are so many locally-owned businesses in our city. It would be impossible to do an article on each one of them.

However, when you are out shopping or are online shopping, consider keeping your money in Thunder Bay as much as possible. That includes grocery shopping too.

Joey's Only
Joey’s Only for Fish and Chips

Businesses like Maltese Grocery on Algoma, Renco Foods on Court Street, and in Centennial Square, Skaffs in Current River offer you some fantastic products.

Locally owned doesn’t exclude franchises either. Remember the Mr. Sub, Joey’s Only, Pita Pit, are all locally owned and operated. Keep in mind too that for pizza, Westfort’s Mama Alfa’s Pizzeria, and some of the absolutely incredible local restaurants are a part of our community.

Sometimes perhaps in Thunder Bay, there is almost a forgetfulness of the local businesses here in the city who make up important parts of the community.

Canada Post is already warning that they are expecting huge parcel volumes as we head into the holiday season.

Maybe in a year unlike any that any of us can remember, shopping locally for all of us should be more of a priority.

James Murray
President
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