Good Neighbours

I’ve always believed in the concept of shopping at home.

If you can, buying things from your neighbourhood merchants just seems to make sense.   Keep the local economy flowing and the rest will take care of itself.  London has everything anyone could want or need (except an Ikea but we’ve been over that already!) and now with 2 hours of free downtown parking for December it’s even more attractive to hit Richmond Row instead of fighting for a spot at a mall.  This week I popped into Ten Thousand Villages for a notebook that I suppose I could have picked up at a dollar store. But wandering around a shop that’s dedicated to fair wages for fair work is good for the soul and the stuff they carry is unique and beautiful.  My new notebook is well made to withstand the punishment it will get and that’s worth a few more bucks to me. 

I’ve never been much of a cross-border shopper.  It’s an activity to do once in a while, in my world, and generally not for stuff I can get at home.  Today I’m zipping across the Bluewater Bridge to pick up a couple of things I know for sure aren’t available in Canada.  Oh, I’ll probably take a stroll through Target, too, because I’m human and it’s just so much darn fun!  Last time we were in Port Huron I spontaneously bought a pair of leather mules for about twenty bucks on sale.  But I will continue to buy most of my footwear – and everything else – here at home.

Sometimes shopping is a sport and for those times, nearly anything goes.  But supporting our neighbours and keeping our community’s economy churning is part – I think – of the responsibility of enjoying a good quality of life in a city you call home, whether it’s Toronto or Barrie or Sudbury or St. Thomas. A stark reminder of this came recently when I had some time to kill before an appointment downtown and my feet naturally walked toward Sugar Mountain, the retro candy haven on Richmond south of Oxford.  Only it’s gone, closed down, the sweet-filled bins removed and no new tenant yet in its spot.  The economy has claimed its share of businesses that couldn’t weather it and you have to wonder if people’s candy needs were going unfulfilled or if they were buying cheap imitations in pound-sacks from Walmart instead.  Either way, it’s a loss for the city and I hope I’m doing my part to help prevent any more merchants from closing up shop.