Business Investment & Attraction

Regional Survey Seeks to Understand Local, Non-Local, & Online Household Spending

Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development and Tourism (FMWBEDT) is launching a regional survey to better understand household spending in the areas of retail, food and beverage, personal services, and entertainment. Survey findings will be combined with additional market research to inform the direction of FMWBEDT’s Retail and Commercial Plan, focused on supporting existing local businesses with retention and expansion, and attracting new private investment.

“Local access to goods, services and experiences play an important role in the livability and sustainability of our region,” says Kevin Weidlich, President & CEO of FMWBEDT. “The ultimate goal of this work is to enhance the amenities for individuals and families that live here, which makes us more competitive with other communities our size.”

The Household Spending Survey is the first of its kind for the organization since becoming an independent, arms-length corporation two years ago. FMWBEDT will collect this type of information regularly as consumer behaviour evolves based on changes in technology, product development, and major global events such as the pandemic. Despite recent shifts in consumer behaviour, the region continues to have incredible spending power with the highest discretionary spending in Canada. It is important to capture as much of that spending power locally by increasing the availability of local goods and services that residents want and need.

“Having access to this type of information for a small business like mine allows me to be pro-active about what I can provide to meet local demand, and that alone will encourage people to continue to shop here,” says Mya Khan, Owner of Project Clothing Fort McMurray.

The survey is open to everyone living or working in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo—this includes urban and rural residents, and temporary workforces. The type of data being collected through this survey is a key component in the decision making to invest in our place. On average it can take anywhere between 1-5 years to secure private investment. Investors are looking for strong indications they will be successful in our region.

“Our role is to present the business case to investors on why Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo is the best place to do business,” says Lisa Sweet, Director of Business & Investment Attraction of FMWBEDT. “Incredible economic opportunity exists here, and we need to continue to work together to encourage investment in the region, through either existing businesses expanding or attracting new private investment.”

The survey findings will be shared with the local business community in early 2022. The survey will run from October 15 to November 15, 2021. Participants are encouraged to complete the survey by 4:00 p.m. (MST) on November 15.