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City council in Burlington, Vermont has adopted a measure to increase the amount of French in the city.

 

The resolution proposes some bilingual road signs and suggests that restautrants translate their menus into French.

 

The measures won't be required, just recommended.

 

It also encourages people who work in the tourism industry to learn French.

 

It's estimated a third of the Burlington population is of French origin, whose ancestors came from Canada in the nineteenth century.

 

(Courtesy of CJAD)

 

One new step for Vermont to leave the US and join Canada? :silly:

Edited by jesseps
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The mayor's name is Kiss, but Burlington, Vt., wants to go a little further to show some love to its northern neighbours.

 

The city council passed a non-binding resolution on Monday night that suggests a little French would go a long way to making Quebecers feel a little more at home, visit more often and stay a little longer in the city an hour south of Montreal.

 

The council headed by Bob Kiss unanimously passed the resolution that mentions the important economic contributions to the economy of Vermont and Burlington in particular by Quebecers.

 

Norman Blais, the councillor who sponsored the bill, was born in Newport and spoke French before he spoke English.

 

He proposed French words might be a great idea on signage, menus and on the lips of sales staff and wait staff.

 

Bill Keogh, the council president, said the motivation for this resolution was to be "more welcoming to our many visitors from Quebec and Montreal."

 

"Lots of people come down on buses to fly out of the airport and walk along the downtown marketplace and you'll hear a lot of French.

 

"The downtown business association has been giving French classes to retailers and with this voluntary program, hopefully people will take advantage of the city's endorsement to add some French to menus and signs," Keogh said.

 

The Vermont Pub and Brewery on Rue du Collège (as it may come to be known in some circles) already has a lot of Canadian business, said an employee, and a couple of the staff members can speak French, which comes in handy.

 

There will be no government subsidies to cover the costs of adding French to signs, so it may be a while until we see the likes of Carré Sheburne, Centre d'achats Ethan Allen, or Les Coins Taft.

 

But at least one local politician is boning up on the language of Molière. "I have been taking those French classes and I just went to Paris. It's a really nice feeling, très bon, to be able to understand what's going on," Keogh said.

 

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Burlington+boosts+bilingual+business/5238600/story.html#ixzz1UiynhghZ

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As their country undergoes a debt-fuelled gut-check that may vault it into recession, some small business owners in the United States are taking unprecedented steps to charm a breed of consumers who have largely kept their wallets open amid the growing economic uncertainty — Canadians.

 

Faced with a reluctant U.S. consumer and desperate to draw people beyond the big-name box stores such as Wal-Mart, small businesses along the Canadian border are going through extraordinary measures to lure Canadian shoppers south.

 

In the Plattsburgh, N.Y. region bordering Quebec, some 25 local business have set up a website that features the latest border wait times, price comparisons between goods sold in Quebec and New York and advice on where to find the cheapest gas. The site is translated continuously into French.

 

Area business owners and restaurants are also using French-English electronic translators to be able to communicate with Quebec shoppers who show up at their establishments. And they’re putting Quebec fleur-de-lis flags in their windows to welcome them.

 

“The idea is to try to generate some new revenue for the local economy by trying to attract the Canadians,” said Kim Rowe Manion, coordinator of the goplattsburgh.com project. “It’s trying to get people out into local businesses.”

 

The effort is just one of several attempts by political and business leaders to look north as U.S. consumers pare back their discretionary purchases. Government data this month showed U.S. consumer spending dropped in June for the first time in 20 months.

 

In Burlington, Vt., city council this week passed a resolution recommending French and English signage and encouraging workers in the tourism sector to become more bilingual. The move, which is intended to improve understanding for Quebecers on everything from restaurant menus to highway exit guideposts, will not be enforced and so it remains symbolic. Burlington, which is roughly an hour and a half drive from Montreal, is not funding the initiative.

 

A strong Canadian dollar and increased spending by Canadian consumers have lured many U.S. retailers such as Target north. But smaller U.S. businesses that are unable to set up in Canada or can’t sell through the Internet are scrambling harder than ever to lure shoppers south.

 

The loonie closed Wednesday at 99.48 cents per U.S. dollar. One Canadian dollar buys US$1.0052.

 

For years, U.S. retailers in Washington State and other places have set up big facilities near the border and launched advertising campaigns to seduce Canadian shoppers. But a sputtering U.S. economy and the loss of local employment has many of them redoubling their efforts.

 

In the case of the greater Plattsburgh businesses, the effort came after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. announced last summer it would close several facilities in the Clinton County region, resulting in an annual salary-base loss of US$20-million. A marketing cooperative of local businesses was then formed in a bid to generate new spending in the area.

 

Local officials in the Flathead Valley, Mont., say times have been trying for many area businesses and that strong Canadian traffic has helped some of them avoid insolvency. But even the region’s premier entrepreneurs are stepping up efforts to woo Canadians.

 

In Whitefish, Mont., the Averill family, which owns the Lodge at Whitefish Lake boutique hotel, regularly makes direct sales calls to Alberta oil companies and other potential Canadian clients. Lodge co-owner Fabienne Averill said the Lodge has also started emailing those clients directly with offers.

 

In one recently completed marketing effort, Ms. Averill contacted some 15 local stores and convinced them to offer discounts of up to 30% to any Canadian guests that she pulled in. Then she packaged the stay-and-spend experience and offered it to all her past Canadian guests going back three years as the “Canadian Shopper’s extravaganza.” One quarter of the lodge’s total revenue so far this year has come from Canadians compared with 10% last year.

 

“I’d love get these stickers made, that say ‘Thank God for Canadians. Love, Whitefish,’” Ms. Averill said. “[Their business] is very, very important.”

 

Among new changes some Montana businesses have made to make life easier for Canadian customers are accepting Canadian cheques on Canadian banks and swapping their payment processing systems to accept Canadian debit cards, said Donna Townley, an economics professor at the University of Lethbridge who is familiar with the market. Many shops also recognize Canadian holidays.

 

(Courtesy of the Financial Post)

 

This warms my heart. They showered us with cash back in the 90s. Now it is our turn to return the favour.

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