Let me start by asking you this simple question, whose answer may not be an easy or accurate one to find out: how many Assyrians live in your city or region? if you are in a city like Detroit, Chicago, Sydney or Toronto, chances are, there is more than a few thousands Assyrians living in your area. It is also very likely that you share the same postal code with some hundreds of them. Now the next question is: how many Assyrian businesses exist in your area? none, a few, or maybe many of them? let us take Toronto or Detroit for example. How many Assyrian auto mechanic shops are there? how many Assyrian/Middle Eastern restaurants are there in Detroit? I am sure there is more than a few.
Now the next question is: with so many thousands of Assyrians living in these big cities, and with lots of established Assyrian businesses and franchises, why not bring the two closer together? that is, why not have most Assyrians buying from Assyrian businesses, while the Assyrian businesses to tailor their services and products for these Assyrian customers? In other words, Assyrians are going to buy and spend money anyways, so why not spend it in Assyrian stores and businesses where possible? those businesses in turn will support community events, social and religious charities etc. So it is more of a self-enforcing cycle; the Assyrian consumer supports the Assyrian business and vise versa.
In talking to people, I have noticed that some of them have had a negative dealing with Assyrian businesses at times. This may be true but it should in no way prevent an exchange between the two. After all, if we can’t establish trust between our own community members, how can we trust the world? more trust should be built between the two. In fact, Assyrian businesses should promote themselves to the Assyrian consumer more often. This can be done through traditional advertising or public campaigns, channeled through community mediums.
Now you may be wondering, why focus on the Assyrian customer, don’t these businesses already have their own customers? they probably do, but imagine these made-up examples
-Sydney, Australia has 5 Assyrian hair shops. Sydney has some 30,000 Assyrians living in them. If one third of this population was to use these Assyrian hair stylists, we would be giving them business like no other.
-An Assyrian auto mechanic in Chicago: now Chicago has got, arguably, the biggest Assyrian population outside of the middle east. With at least 10,000 Assyrian drivers in the city, and some 10 Assyrian auto service shops, we could be creating a fortune for these guys, if a big fraction of these drivers went to these mechanic, as opposed to non-Assyrian ones.
-A food super market in Toronto: if 500 Assyrian families were to buy part of their monthly shopping from one of the many Assyrian food stores in Toronto, these businesses would profit greatly.
In other words, it is really easy to help our businesses, and help establish a virtual Assyrian economy which spans boarders and time zones. In fact, if the above scenarios were implemented and applied, we could easily create new Assyrian millionaires, which is not a bad thing at all. So what should you, as a consumer, do to help? well you can do a lot. To begin with, make sure you try to give your money to an Assyrian businesses as much as possible. Try to tell your friends and relatives about all Assyrian businesses in your area. Note that, by this, we are not calling of a boycott of non-Assyrian businesses and products. We are simply giving Assyrian businesses a priority.
And finally, www.AssyrianVoice.net , a website of which I am a part of and its founder, has dedicated “July 1st”, to be an annual “Buy from an Assyrian” day, where Assyrians are encouraged to go out and buy something from an Assyrian. So mark this day on your calendar and make sure you go out and buy something on this day, from an Assyrian. In fact, you should make this habit, and buy something from an Assyrian, at least once every month.