Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Big Box vs. small business

I read a post by Jenn at My Muskoka yesterday that has troubled me for years. Most of my travel across this country is done by train or bus and as I travel through small and large town Canada I have been witness to a blueprint for destruction of these communities with the invasion of the "big box" stores. Even in big cities like Toronto the big box stores are destroying the fabric of our economy....the small business owner.
Yesterday I was looking for a book, I checked online and it is still available but as I don't own a credit card and I am in a big city I should be able to go to a store and buy it.....wrong!  I went into Indigo/Chapters at the Toronto Eatons Centre thinking no problem....wrong again! The book was not in the store but they could have it there in three days, when I said "that's ok I'll go check out another store" the clerk said "don't bother it is not available anywhere else." Indigo owns Chapters, Coles, The World's Largest Book Store etc. etc!

In one keystroke I no longer have a choice unless I know where the few remaining independant bookstores are and in Toronto I don't!                   I remember when I could spend hours on a Saturday or Sunday sitting on the floor of book stores like Second Story Books in London, ON, Bollum's Books in Vancouver or Northwest Coast  Books in Queen Charlotte going through both old or new books , a pleasure that is becoming harder and harder to do as "big box" stores tear the guts out of the small business person.                      When I moved to Haida Gwaii formally know as the Queen Charlotte Islands I was a Tim Horton's addict. For those of you who do not know, Tim Horton's is a very prevalent donut shop in Canada named for a hockey player. My day didn't get started or keep going without at least three "extra-large-double-doubles"! As I waited for the ferry in Prince Rupert to go to the islands I realized this was it for

Tim Horton's! My life as I knew it was about to change forever and it did, for the better! Without Tim Horton's on the Island I brewed my own, better cup of coffee and patronize our unique independant island coffee pervayers and have never looked back! Even as I spend three months on the mainland I still brew the best cup of coffee and try little independant coffee houses! The chains and big box stores, with our help have taken the heart out of our communities because we don't want to pay for parking , or walk in the weather or it seems, know the people who are serving us, what a shame because that is what makes us community.

I am following with interest an article I read on CBC/Vancouver's website about a small community's effort to keep the chain stores out so they can keep their unique sense of community.

Why people come to the Queen Street East in the Beach Area of Toronto, Tofino or Haida Gwaii, BC is not because they are the same as every place else but because they are unique....
Support your small business owners!
Visit MyWorld Tuesday to see what else is harppening in our world.


Linda said...

So true. These shops are a curse here too, and city life is structured so that it is all too easy to take the convenient option.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Hear! Hear! I too believe that the big chain stores and multinational companies are the real enemies in modern society.

Cedar ... said...

I totally agree!

Marion said...

I moved from a small town on Vancouver Island which also does not allow big box stores. There were many bookstores and other shops which were so interesting, with owners who were great acquaintances.

I still seek out those small stores, for the super service and also just because I love the familiarity.

Great post!


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