Last Friday night, North Bay officially kicked off the Christmas season at the Old Fashioned Christmas Walk.  If the size of the crowds were any indication of what we can expect downtown this Christmas, the local retailers and restaurants should be busy.  December is a key month for many of our retailers, not only in the downtown but throughout our region.  The owners and staff of our local businesses appreciate all that shop locally.  Congratulations and good luck to long time DIA Executive Director, Jeff Serran.  After 14 years at the helm, Jeff is on to a new chapter in his life.  The 30th annual Downtown Christmas Walk was a huge success and a fitting send off to Jeff.

Shopping locally or sourcing local products on line, is something that we certainly encourage all residents of our district to think of, before making those holiday or any day purchases.  If you can not find it in the store, make sure you ask the staff and more times than not, they can source it for you.  On social media over the past few weeks many posts have alluded to the fact that by shopping locally, you are helping to feed families, buy homes, pay taxes, support kids sports and the list goes on.   Before you buy on line, take the time to look local, you may be amazed what you find.

Each month, the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce, hosts an evening of both networking and showcasing businesses in our district, at the “Business After Hours” event.  It is normally held the last Thursday of each month.  Last week, we were hosted by Jennifer & Brent Bywater and the staff of Vested Interest Trading.  It seems like it was just a few months ago that the Bywater’s and Vested Interest returned and invested in the downtown core.  In fact, it was just over a year ago when they showed their confidence in the downtown, with the purchase of property and the re-opening on Main Street.  Congratulations on your first year anniversary being back downtown.

A couple of weeks ago, at the Caisse announcement of a new branch in West Ferris, I had the opportunity to chat with long time Chamber members, Jean Larocque and Ruth Elder of Larocque Elder Architects, Architectes Inc.  In speaking with Jean, he told me he had taken my advice from one of the articles that the Nugget had published earlier.  He mentioned the column where I had suggested that if each business in our area grew by one employee, it would provide an economic boost to our entire community.  Jean and Ruth went a couple of steps further and grew by three.  The reasoning for the growth by their firm, who could in reality operate from any-where on this globe: “We love North Bay”.   Thank you to LEA for your confidence in North Bay and our area.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.