Saturday, December 6, 2008

This Christmas, buy local!

As the Christmas shopping season shifts into high gear for the next three weeks, I thought I would take a few moments to comment on something I have always believed in, and hope others will pay heed to: the need to shop and buy local.

As orders come in for my business, A Web of Fine Music (, I have heard two interesting comments this past week. One, a customer didn't want to order online, but would rather order from a local business. When I told her she could do both with my business, namely order either online or over the phone, she was at first a little skeptical and then pleased. I have not secured her order yet, but I am working on it. The second customer asked if I could obtain a particular recording for her which she found on, as she would rather deal with a local business. I thanked her for doing so and said I would do my best to get the disc she wanted; she then said she would get back to me. So far I have not heard from her. Hmmm, did she really want to buy locally, do you think?

Often, I find people simply pay lip service to the notion of buying locally; they say they would if they could find what they wanted or if the price were better or whatever. I've heard all the stories. The fact remains, we need to support local business if they are to survive. I had one person call and ask if the former store I was associated with for ten years, Downtown Fine Music, was still around. It closed five years ago, when I started A Web of Fine Music! Now, if that is the first time the person has noticed the store no longer exists, and they want music, where have they been buying their music these last five years? And why, as I often notice at this time of year, do people contact me in December and not the rest of the year, fully expecting me to be there year after year, waiting for their next order?

The music business is not a healthy business nowadays, with music stores almost entirely a thing of the past due to digital downloading and shopping online. But a bricks and mortar establishment can only survive if you patronize it. Using it as nothing more than an information source will not put cash in the till and pay the bills. Still, people have the right to shop where they wish; in that case they should not be surprised if a business fails in between their yearly purchases.

I always try to buy locally in every shopping trip I make, be it for food or hard consumer goods. It isn't always easy, but the search is almost always worth it. You may pay a little more if you shop locally, but consider the cost if you don't: your dollars go outside your community to benefit others in another country. Would it not be better to keep those dollars here, investing in your own community? This Christmas I have made a concerted effort to shop locally whenever possible and even keep the products locally made if at all possible. With food, for example, I have purchased local granola that is simply the best around, from Happyspoon Gourmet Granola produced right here in St. Catharines, and chocolate candy apples from Moyer's Apple Farm in Vineland. Just two examples of supporting the local economy while finding unique gifts you won't likely find in a mall.

It is always interesting and often fun to make these new discoveries; many times I have become good friends with the producers, and that is a wonderful feeling. You get a better sense of what you are buying, and you can see the benefits of what your purchases do first hand. So this year, whatever you are buying as Christmas gifts, try to shop locally. Even if the item is not locally made, even supporting an independent local merchant will help, thereby ensuring they will be there again the next time you come calling. And when you want music, your local sourse is A Web of Fine Music, and you can find our website at

Happy shopping!

December 6th, 2008.

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