Nackawic — The holiday season is upon us, and as people scramble to complete their Christmas shopping, New Brunswick’s small towns have one request: shop local.
Take Nackawic, for example. With COVID, Amazon and a bevy of other easy online shopping options, the town’s population of 940 have little incentive to buy their gifts in-store.
“I tried to do a little bit of shopping in town, but there just weren’t many options,” said resident Andrew Paltry. “I mean, I don’t know anyone who has much use for custom lobster bibs or the world’s smallest replica of the world’s largest axe.”
However, in hopes of keeping money circulating within the community, the town council has redoubled their efforts to encourage local shopping.
“Over the weekend, we held an event called ‘Nackawic Sparkles,’ where all of our stores were open late — 3 p.m. in some cases — and offered exclusive local deals on handmade items,” said Mayor Ian Kitchen. “We went all out with the decorations, too. See our big Rudolf?”
He pointed to a five-foot inflatable reindeer decoration in the centre of town. Its nose and right arm had failed to inflate, giving it the appearance of a recent stroke victim.
“Ain’t that somethin’?” he asked, nodding proudly.
Young mother Caroline Tarner was present at “Nackawic Sparkles,” and allowed The Manatee to accompany her as she shopped at one local establishment, “Gary’s Giffs” (sic).
“My son really wants an iPad this Christmas,” she told the proprietor, Gary. “I was hoping maybe to get a slightly older model, something more in my price range. Do you have any here?”
“No, but I have this EyePad,” said Gary, holding up a dripping yellow object.
“Good lord, what the hell is that?” she said, revolted.
“Fisheyes wrapped in a maxi pad,” he replied flatly. “Fifty bucks.”
“Well, they are sold out online at Best Buy,” said Tarner, taking out her credit card. “That’s what I get for waiting until December to do my shopping.”