While the rise of online shopping has had a significant impact on Canadians' Christmas shopping habits, recent data suggests buying from traditional brick and mortar shops is still popular.
According to a 2017 survey by Statista, 60 percent of Canadians planned to buy gifts from specialty/independent stores, however, 66 percent of respondents said they also planned to buy gifts online.
In another survey from October 2018, Canadians plan to purchase 74 percent of their holiday shopping in-store, and 20 percent of their purchases online using a computer or tablet.
The Pembina Valley has seen a rise in independently owned shops and businesses, and with the rotating postal strikes earlier this winter, people were avoiding online purchases.
Elliot Banman is just one of these locals who owns a unique general store in Winkler called Anker & Jones.
Banman had been percolating on the idea of opening a store for 30 years and was originally going to use his last name for the store's name. "About four or five years ago I went and found my biological parents because I'm adopted. My mom's name is Charlotte Anker and my dad's name is Jim Jones, so we came up with the name Anker & Jones General Store instead."
He likes being able to help people find little treasures and products that are difficult to come by. Sometimes these products haven't been seen on shelves for years, or are something you are not sure how to order yourself, like 50 stacking banquet chairs. Banman says, "that is my joy. Where is it in the world that I can get it for them?"
Banman stocks a number of old candy treats that many grandparents buy to share with their grandkids that have never experienced it before. "Some of the old candy that I have there, I've actually had people with their iPhone's sit down there and video themselves amongst this old candy, recreating their childhood, and enjoying every moment of it, so it's been pretty neat," adds Banman.