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Fernie Chamber Recognizes Strength of Small Business

The Fernie Chamber of Commerce is praising small businesses in the community and recognizing their impacts on the local economy.

Brad Parsell, Executive Director of the Fernie Chamber of Commerce said small business remains a vital cog to sustain any community as those entrepreneurs and small businesses continue to weather the storm and challenges.

“E-commerce, like Amazon, is certainly one of them,” Parsell told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “Certainly there’s pressures on the wage side of things with minimum wage increasing in B.C. and things like the Employer Health Tax, so there’s definitely challenges out there.”

British Columbia’s minimum wage is currently $13.85 an hour but will be increasing to $14.26 in June 2020 and $15.20 by June 2021. The Employer Health Tax is effectively replacing MSP (Medical Services Plan) premiums as employers with a payroll below $500,000 are exempt, the rest will pay 2.925% of their remuneration, while those above a payroll of $1.5 million will pay 1.95%.

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Despite some of these challenges, Parsell said that businesses in Fernie’s are staying strong.

“In our community, we have a pretty dynamic and forward-thinking business community who have been able to rapidly adapt to those things and are still very successful.”

On the contrary, Parsell told MyEastKootenayNow.com that Fernie is a growing tourist destination and that growth is anticipated regardless of the challenges in the marketplace.

“I think it’s a really exciting time to be doing business in Fernie and the Elk Valley and in the wider East Kootenay,” said Parsell. “Our profile nationally and internationally is growing, more and more tourist dollars are coming into our area and our neck of the woods, so certainly I think it’s a very positive and exciting time to be in the small business sector in our region.”

Parsell said that as small businesses continue to operate in the region, consumers need to vote with their dollar who they want to succeed and that they should first look local for their sustainability of their community.

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