Friday, July 30, 2010

Culture: Supporting Local Business?

TORONTO, ONTARIO - For all my verbal and written glorification of neighbourhood businesses in Toronto, my credibility in supporting these businesses is rather suspect. After all, I buy almost all of my groceries at supermarkets, only occasionally picking up some produce at one of the family businesses in Bloor West Village. My credibility in some other sectors is better, but I would overall have a very hard time if someone accused me of hypocrisy in this regard.

Today, I needed a small Torx screwdriver that I didn't have, so I decided to see if I could avoid going to Home Depot to get it. One of the few specialty stores that Bloor West Village doesn't have is a hardware store. However, there is a hardware store a bit north of the neighbourhood that I had never actually gone inside before since it is only open during weekday business hours. Being unemployed, I figured I'd have the chance to actually give them some business.

However, after I walked over there, I found the business closed. Hours were not posted in the window, but there appeared to be plenty of inventory inside. I think the owner must go on vacation in the summer, and his customers must know that, so no sign is necessary. So, I still haven't been inside that hardware store.

There is a hardware store in the Junction neighbourhood, so I kept walking that direction. That store was open, and someone even tried to help me. However, the guy seemed to have never heard of a "Torx" or even a "star" screwdriver before, and while there were Torx screwdrivers in the store, the size that I needed wasn't available. They weren't going to get my business either.

It was starting to look like I would have to go to Home Depot after all, but there is another, Canadian-owned business nearby in the Junction neighbourhood. So, I headed to Rona. Finally, I found a T9 Torx screwdiver there in a set that I figured was worth having.

I had managed to avoid Home Depot, but I hadn't managed to give business to a local owner, just a Canadian chain. No wonder so many small business advocates end up hypocrites.

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