For a determined entrepreneur with experience in selling everything from "lipstick to cars", the Shop Local Movement is an easy fit. This week we are welcoming new City Manager Arlene Merrill as she launches ShopStAlbert.com in St. Albert, Alberta. With a long background in sales and small business ownership, Arlene is ramping up her business with a drive to help other small business owners in St. Albert do the same.
After spending almost four years as a real estate agent in Mexico, Arlene and the Merrill family are back in Alberta and ready to get started building a family business in St. Albert. In 2013, the Merrills sold their home in Alberta and jumped into an RV to begin an epic journey across the United States that later landed them in sunny Mexico. Three and a half years later, the family is back and are now working hard as a team to drive local shopping in the city of St. Albert.
St. Albert is located on the Sturgeon River just North West of Edmonton, Alberta and is home to a charming downtown and around 65,000 Albertans. The city is filled with hard-working small business owners and is a hub for arts, culture and heritage in the Edmonton Region. As the home of Western Canada's largest outdoor farmers' market, St. Albert is the perfect place to launch a Shop Local campaign like ShopStAlbert.com.
Arlene says she knows from experience that in small business it can be tough deciding how to market yourself, and having time to do it all yourself is a challenge, both problems she knows ShopStAlbert.com can address for the small business community.
"The big goal is to bring those small businesses together in camaraderie," said Arlene Merrill, new City Manager of ShopStAlbert.com. "When I talk to small business owners I see that they're all having the same core struggles. I would love to eventually launch a community hub where we could have those conversations at a Friday night mixer or a seminar and come together to help support each other. That's the dream for ShopStAlbert.com."
"Arlene embodies the drive, passion and personality of small business in St. Albert," said ShopCity.com CEO, Colin Pape. "There is no doubt in my mind that her community and local economy are about to benefit from her work with ShopStAlbert.com and the ShopCity.com model in a big way."
ShopStAlbert.com City Manager Arlene Merrill and husband Bryan.
For the Merrills, ShopStAlbert.com is truly a family affair. Eldest son Klark is already joining Arlene on calls to learn more about the new family business, 15-year-old Braxtyn will be helping build a social media presence for ShopStAlbert and Arlene's husband Bryan is on board to help the business grow.