Diversified economy, 'sense of belonging' key to Saskatoon economic recovery: expert
SASKATOON -- As uncertainty looms in some areas of the economy because of the pandemic, one industry is seeing an upside.
Kelly Minisofer owns Grasswood Auctions, a company his dad started 50 years ago.
He has seen his business increase by 50 per cent with companies offloading equipment because of closures.
But he is also seeing a seller’s market with prices “through the roof,” he says.
“There’s been a strong group of buyers buying the assets and rebuilding and setting up. It’s just an entrepreneurial spirit,” Minisofer told CTV News.
The Dean of the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan, Keith Willoughby, says Saskatoon and Saskatchewan are seeing a unique economic outcome from the pandemic.
“We’ve had the wherewithal so that we can withstand the challenges that we’ve seen that the pandemic has launched upon us. I see opportunities where we’ve learned to survive and cope in circumstances that we didn’t choose and that degree of perseverance will be important in pinpointing our success,” Willoughby told CTV News.
Even as an economic expert, he didn’t see this coming a year ago. He says disposable income is increasing, in part because people aren’t travelling so people can’t spend their money in the same way they could before.
This is resulting in a dramatic increase in lumber prices because of home renovation products and appliance sales.
He also notes the diversified base in the Saskatchewan economy and Saskatoon especially.
The strong tech sector as well as a varying degree of resources makes the region prepared to recover from the pandemic, he says.
“We’ve learned to rely on one another and that sense of belonging and togetherness should continue once we are through to the other side of these experiences.”
He admits chalking it up to a prairie spirit may be viewed as overdramatic, but having lived in other parts of the country and world, he stands by that justification.
“There’s something in our DNA that allows us to pull together.”
Willoughby recognizes that some areas of the economy won’t view the pandemic as positively, but advises those businesses who have the ability to adapt and change to do so if necessary.