REGINA -- Some Regina business owners have launched a new campaign to encourage people in the city to buy local.

Business owners Josh Needham and John Richardson have erected a sign near downtown, hoping it reminds shoppers of the importance of buying local.

“Well I think it just starts the conversation,” Needham said.  “We’re not looking to advertise any business specifically. We are advertising the concept and the idea that we want to keep Regina’s money in Regina.”

The business owners acknowledged that times are tough for everyone and that people are trying to stretch their dollars, but they believe shopping at home pays dividends for the entire community.

Needham said buying local will be even more critical this Christmas and holiday season as shoppers weigh the option of buying online during the pandemic.

“Amazon and eBay don’t pay property taxes, they don’t pay SaskPower bills, and they don’t pay City of Regina water bills,” Needham said.

But it’s not just consumers that the buy local campaign is targeting.

Richardson, who sells janitorial supplies and hand sanitizer, said the province should be buying supplies from local suppliers.

He said large out-of-province suppliers are outbidding local firms.

“I think we need to show that we’re Saskatchewan first,” he said. “Regardless of the money being more, we need to buy from a local company and keep it in Saskatchewan. Then, our provincial government needs to look at how we can bring these big industries into Saskatchewan.”

In a written statement, the government said of the 37 qualified suppliers of hand sanitizer, 22 are from Saskatchewan and 15 are out of province.

The statement did not say what percentage of the money is leaving Saskatchewan.

Aleana Young, the new NDP MLA for Regina University and owner of a local business, said, “I think it depends on the outcomes you set for any contract.

“Even certainly like with a home repair, it shouldn’t just be a race to the bottom for the cheapest possible price.”