First, let me say I am coming at this from strong allied, diverse and inclusive values and have direct members of my family who self-identify to be a part of the Pride community. As it so happens, I also work as a diversity and inclusion specialist.
Secondly, I am also an economic specialist – having developed Canmore’s Business, Retention and Expansion program when I was economic developer officer for the Town of Canmore. The right thing to do is to ensure and support Valbella as it builds a strong diversity and inclusion strategy and successfully executes a robust program.
For those who have punished Valbella by boycotting their business – you have reacted too quickly. Thank you for bringing it to the community’s attention. But now, some 20 employees – very conservatively speaking $624,000 revenue at an average of $15 an hour – could be removed from the economy of Canmore. Yes, Valbella’s buyers and clients can transfer their shopping patterns to other local businesses and may decide to shop in Calgary.
What needs to be realized is the outside influence Valbella has built over the years. Its marketing strategy has grown and is responsible for bringing shoppers to our community. You all share in co-marketing for reach and you may suffer when an influential business is boycotted. What will happen when some buyers don’t come to Canmore? Hotel rooms won’t be booked, coffee and dining establishments could see their revenues decrease and it will trickle down to retail.
Yes, one comment that goes viral can do all that. Local businesses need to support local businesses.
You all have your influence and reason for what makes buyers decide to buy in Canmore. With the possible loss of the Valbella employees, Canmore’s local businesses will lose out. The revenue lost to the community would be close to $650,000. That’s just a direct loss. An indirect loss will affect every one of our businesses.
The president’s statements were disturbing, but we as a community should understand change can only happen through education and then only if it is accepted. Let’s get on the bandwagon to educate on diversity and inclusion in our community. If you feel the need to boycott, unfortunately, you will be hurting your bottom line and our community.
Please don’t shoot the messenger. We need to come together, not fracture.