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Montreal hoping holiday shoppers will choose local

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The city of Montreal hopes to encourage residents to shop local with the promise to give a financial boost to some lesser-served neighbourhoods.

Usually, holiday dollars go to large streets and boulevards with shopping areas.

This year, the city is promising 14 projects in 10 boroughs to encourage shoppers to spend their money locally.

"For the first time in Montreal we decided to invest $2 million to support small commercial streets," said Luc Rabouin, chair of the executive committee and responsible for economic and commercial development.

The support includes putting up holiday decorations and offering incentives to merchants along Saint-Michel Boulevard in the Villeray–Saint-Michel–Parc-Extension district.

"It's to help the businessmen to grow and increase the attractiveness of their street," said borough councillor Sylvain Ouellet.

In business for 20 years at 8945 Saint-Michel Boulevard, Polytronic owner Jean-Wesley Charles said a village atmosphere draws clients.

"Longueil, St-Hubert, Repentigny, we have a lot of customers from everywhere," said Charles.

He also says "shop local" means better after-sales service than buying online.

Across the street, at 9006 St-Michel, serving treats from Maghreb, Café Resto Virginia owner Yassine Tadghoute said the neighbourhood could use some sparkle. He says merchants are still recovering from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"After the pandemic, we had a lot of problems," said Tadghoute.

Ask any entrepreneur and they'll tell you, being an independent business owner is difficult, and a good December can make the difference. 

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