B.C. surf town bans all franchises
No Wal-Mart Here
Alex Keshen, National Post Published: Thursday, March 11, 2010
The protectionist bone in my spine always gets a tingle when I hear a town or region takes these measures. Deja vu Salt Spring Island last decade.
I wish he would make it clear if he means corporate franchises or individual franchises. I am assuming he means both, which means he should expand his list of franchisees in Tofino. Aside from the gas station and the bank, what about the Co-op, that is a major franchise, you could even stretch the philosophy to include places like the post office (I too could open my own post office branch if I so desired).
Aside from a CIBC branch and an Esso gas station, he said Tofino businesses are independent and locally owned...
I think the unheard and ugly side of these protectionist statements and policies is that it is a quick way to gain brownie points with your constituents under the premise you are looking out for their best interests when you are a local politician. But, in fact the politician is only looking out for a select few local business owners who take advantage of Tofino's remote location.
Tofino is an expensive town and not just because of its remote location. Unless you go and eat at Garry's Chineese Restaurant you are going to pay an arm and a leg for even a simple meal. A lot of business owners are making an indecent amount of money for their wares and services compared to other communities. If a large franchise like McDonalds (of which I could own a franchise too if I wished) comes into the neighborhood and everybody starts spending their disposable income there instead of local establishments, then that would be a shortcoming of the local businesses. McDonalds is not an all consuming steam roller and neither is Walmart for that matter.
I can't entirely agree with that statement. I think travelers do enjoy local fare as a change of pace, but can also appreciate staples that are comfortable and remind them of home, companies like McDonalds, Starbucks and Tim Horton's provide that.
Mr. Ashton said he believes franchises will not only be bad for local businesses, but will ruin tourists' experience in the town. "When I travel ...I don't want to eat at a McDonald's when I'm in Venice," he said. "I want to see what the Italians eat."
However, I don't personally believe there needs to be a major franchise in every small town. But if there is opportunity, desire to have one and a population to support it the free market should decide it. I believe with in the rules and boundaries the land is fair game to everyone who wishes to play in the business game, its only when short sighted politicians and business owners try to unfairly tip the rules in their favour that gets my protectionist bone twitching.
All I'm saying is that there is a big whole in the philosophy of saving local businesses by banning franchises in any community, many franchises offer economic benefits to the communities they are in. Does anyone feel the same as I do?