Well first of all, good readers, thank you so much for all your excellent suggestions in answer to the question in my most recent post about where to find old-fashioned window shades. You guys are a mine of information! Thanks to your suggestions, the websites of Rona, Home Depot and Sears got quite a few visits from me tonight, and our friend Phyllis also reminded me of a funky store in Montreal that should have them.
But while it looks like online shopping (or a visit to a Sears, Rona or Home Depot store) will resolve our current need for a couple of window shades, I do feel badly that our best efforts to buy them locally (i.e. in the nearest towns, Madoc and Tweed) came to naught. We did, as you will see if you read yesterday’s post, give it our best effort, in both towns, in person and by phone. We do try to buy as much as we can for the Manse in the immediate area, and at the risk of sounding lecture-y (or like Charlie Brown’s teacher), I wish more rural residents would do the same.
Because, people, when you drive to Belleville or Peterborough or Oshawa (or the urban equivalent of wherever you may live in a rural area) to buy your groceries or your hardware or whatever, you not only burn costly fossil fuel to save maybe a few bucks, but you hurt the livelihood of people trying to make a go in business right where you live. You limit opportunities for local jobs for your neighbours. Basically, you hurt the very place where you live.
On a visit to the Manse a month or two ago, Raymond and I were in Tweed at lunchtime and decided to go eat at a restaurant we’d visited once before and quite liked, called Murphy’s Bistro – right on the main street. We were shocked and disappointed to find, when we approached the front door, a sign saying that it had closed and thanking past patrons for the their business. As we stood there in disbelief, a woman who worked at a nearby business, who was outside having a smoke, struck up a conversation. “Sad, isn’t it?” she asked. “And you know, people complain when they see empty stores on the main street, but then they drive to Wal-Mart in Belleville to buy stuff.” She made an excellent point. If we want to have healthy communities, we have to support them financially!
On our last visit, in the midst of our unsuccessful quest for window shades (and believe me, we exhausted all local options) we also stopped in at the Tweed News, which is (as the name suggests) a local (weekly) newspaper, but is also a great old-fashioned stationery store on Tweed’s main street. I am a total sucker for stationery stores and pretty much bought one of everything, and when I went to pay was delighted to find out that the guy behind the counter was none other than Tweed News publisher and editor-in-chief Rodger Hanna. (I reccognized him from photos in the local papers that week, when the Tweed News had been named co-winner of a local tourism-business award.) I was happy to introduce myself and tell him what fans Raymond and I are of his newspaper. But my goodness, the poor man doubtless works long hours all through the week to get that paper out, and there he was also manning the stationery store on Saturday morning. I am so glad we were able to give him some business and support the enterprise.
Back in September, Rodger’s newspaper ran an editorial by one of the staffers there, Lacy Meeks, on this same subject, and I liked it so much that I tore it out and kept it. It says, in part:
“I like shopping locally. I like knowing the people I’m doing business with. I enjoy chatting with store owners and their employees about their kids and where they are going to school and what sports teams they belong to. I like sharing stories about the success of local events and the plans for future ones. I like knowing that I can ask for advice on merchandise and … I will receive an honest answer …
“When you make a purchase from local stores, you are supporting businesses that in turn support the sports teams, local theatre groups, community clubs, health organizations, schools and so much more in your area. Your dollar has supported a business that employs local people. Your dollar helped make your community a better place to live, a better place to work, a better place to call home.”
You said it, Lacy! Now will someone in Madoc or Tweed please sell us some window shades?