Michael Jesso’s Fabulous, Derailed

Nobody Does a Better Shop Local Push Than Fort McMurray

With 435 km between us and the nearest large city, we’ve all grown accustomed to doing without, however, we do our damnedest to honour the people who step up to the plate, think outside the box and invest in bringing a business that we don’t have, here.

In the face of a growing online economy, dying malls, and soaring commercial rents no one steps up to support Local like our locals.

One of our biggest Shop Local champions Melanie Galea from Remax Fort McMurray tells me that, “Sixty-seven cents for every dollar spent goes back into our local economy, so let’s keep the money here.”  It’s not just commercial businesses that are feeling the love either; home-based businesses for meal prep, baked goods and everyone’s favourite shareable, YMM Charcuterie, are all flourishing. As well, as places like The Artisan Square.

Don’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, either. We are hearing rumours that some of our big box stores are planning an exodus out of downtown which will have a severe impact on the area. What we need downtown are some people thinking creatively about new events that will bring some life back into the downtown, that support our local events economy, and provide something fun and exciting – not to mention fresh – for our residents.


Even as lines blur, such as once locally-owned real estate companies being gobbled up by large Calgary offices, McMurrayites take pride in asking where the fees for selling their houses go. Does the money stay here or is it supporting brokerages down south? People here cheer for Fort McMurray first! Can we do better? Absolutely.

There is a large talented population of local photographers, event managers, décor experts, video production companies, DJs, hosts, event rental providers and emcees who sometimes get overlooked as people from Edmonton, Calgary and elsewhere are brought in for those duties. It’s not fair to those locals who’ve invested in their businesses and honed their craft. We need to not only shop local, but we need to support local service providers too.

In my 38 years as a resident, I’ve never been more proud of how tight we have become. Like any big family, we might not always agree on everything, but we stand to protect our home.

I hope everyone has a splendid holiday season! Please, please support those local cab companies by not drinking and driving.

About the author

Author Profile
Michael Jesso

A Fort McMurray staple, Michael Jesso is a renaissance man. He is an opinion-sharer, a car aficionado, a cooking show host, and a stand-up comedian.

He tells it like it is, and has his finger on the pulse of what is happening at all times. He is connected, in the know, incredibly invested in the community, and has the most contagious laugh. Not to mention the most epic party pad in all of Fort McMurray.

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