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Marketing, service vital to competing against U.S. retail.

Marketing, service vital to competing against U.S. retail

In most communities when you're out shopping it means you've gone downtown or to a mall to wander around for a few hours and maybe spend a few dollars.

However, in Thunder Bay "outshopping" means you are headed for the United States with the definite intention of finding a bargain or two, or at least a full tank of gas.

And that, of course, is a concern for retailers in Thunder Bay.

An estimated $25 million is spent by the city's residents in the U.S., primarily in Duluth, Minn. In Thunder Bay itself, the retail business totals $800 million.

William Rankin, president of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, says there are similar "outshopping" concerns in Vancouver, Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie.

However, he says Thunder Bay has gathered more information on the subject than any other place in Canada.

Deborah Krupa, chairman of the chamber's tourism committee, says workshops are being provided to retailers to help them better compete with the American competition.

Eight to 10 workshops on such things as marketing and service have been offered, and quite a few businesses have taken part, she notes.

Krupa admits there are problems which are beyond retailers' control, such as the proposed goods and services tax (GST), the exchange rate on the dollar and the high cost of gasoline in Canada.

However, she notes that when data is collected, shoppers mention service as one of their main concerns.
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Title Annotation:Thunder Bay Report
Author:Bickford, Paul
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Nov 1, 1990
Previous Article:Complex international financing holding up $100-million contract.
Next Article:Thunder Bay attracting fewer Americans, but Canadian tourists pick up the slack.

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