New Brunswick’s private sector wants its residents, and businesses, to buy local
DAVID HAWKINS BELIEVES a little can translate into a lot when it comes to the New Brunswick economy.
That’s why Hawkins, CEO of Brainworks Razor Marketing in Moncton, helped found Excellence NB, an association launched this past February with the goal of getting residents to power up their own economy. “There are things we can do here as citizens, businesses and governments by making different decisions on how to spend our money,” Hawkins says.
Excellence NB is a private-sector led association without any government money behind it. But what it’s trying to accomplish is something governments do: stimulate the economy by encouraging individuals, businesses and, yes, the provincial government, to buy more New Brunswick products, services and experiences.
Research commissioned by Excellence NB shows that just a five per cent shift in buying local products, services and experiences would create roughly 5,000 jobs and tens of millions in tax revenue for the province.
The association’s research also shows New Brunswickers are proud of products and services made in the province, but there is only moderate awareness of which companies, products and services are from New Brunswick. “You would think everyone knows Ganong is a New Brunswick product,” Hawkins says, referring to the famous St. Stephen-based chocolate company. “But not everyone does.”
To increase awareness of what is made in New Brunswick, the association has started a campaign (“For the love of New Brunswick”) to promote and educate New Brunswick residents on what products, services and experiences are made in the province with in-store signage and other tools for retailers and businesses.
Can Excellence NB and its ‘buy New Brunswick’ campaign work? Hawkins believes it can, but he says it will take time. “It’s like trying to lose five pounds. It’s not easy. You’ve got to keep working at this every single day for a number of years,” Hawkins says.