Hugely Worth It

I spent a bunch of money on books the other day. It felt really good to give my money to this small, local bookstore rather than a huge, stupid one. This started me thinking about why supporting small, local businesses is so important to me.

Bookmark is a great place to shop in Halifax!

First and foremost, my parents had a small business when I was growing up, so I know how hard-working small business owners have to be, and I goddamn respect them. Beyond this, shopping at a small, local store, rather than a huge box store, often delivers a better overall experience, as it fosters community to develop relationships with business owners. Even if the product you get isn’t better – which it often is – the quality of the experience is generally superior to the experience of shopping in huge chain stores.

And it’s not just the size of the store that matters; locally-owned businesses have a different vibe altogether, as multi-national companies have less accountability to the communities where they plunk down their businesses. Even a local company that expands in size is more likely to consider the impact of their business practices on the community in which the owners /operators also reside.

So size isn't everything!

I’m not sure if there is something inherent to living in the same community that makes a local company “good.” But supporting local businesses redirects dollars and redistributes power that would otherwise land squarely in the lap of big business. And it’s not just about providing competition; it’s about providing an alternative to the profits-before-people business model that has come to dominate our society. As consumers, we have a choice in where we shop, and that choice enables us to support businesses that are good at more than just making money.

Nobody’s perfect, and it can definitely be a challenge to shop local. But it’s a challenge well worth tackling, my friends. Our communities are worth it!

9 thoughts on “Hugely Worth It

  1. Oh no! That’s not what I intended. It’s not like I haven’t ordered books online before, or shopped at Chapters before. But maybe this’ll inspire you to check out the original Bookmark, which is housed in PEI?

    Also, thank you for sending me that book. I can’t wait to read it. ❤

    • I love the original bookmark – are they related? Can I buy a book at the Charlottetown bookmark and have it delivered for you to pick up at the Halifax one? An intriguing possibility…

      • I’m not sure how that works! It would be worth asking, though. I can ask at my location, and you at yours, and then we’ll compare notes. 🙂

  2. As much as I enjoy new books, there’s something about a weathered, used book that makes it more intriguing. I will have to check out Bookmark when I get to the island, but damn I miss Owl’s Nest (despite it’s sweaty, musty, dusty odours) !

  3. Such a good point, Rhonda! Buying used books is also a fantastic way to shop locally and save some serious cash, while caring for the environment all at the same time. I miss the Owl’s nest… such a great place to pick up books. There are a couple of great options in Halifax too:

    JWD Books on Barrington (which is a great place to sell your old books, and it has a similar vibe to the Owl’s nest – commonly voted Best in Halifax)

    The Last Word on Windsor Street (I’ve never actually been inside this place, but they always have amazing and interesting titles in the front windows)

    Back Pages on Queen Street (a great place to wander into with a loved one)

  4. Last Word on Windsor has a great selection, and is a bit less overwhelming to wander around than the bigger, labyrinthine second-hand shops. I highly recommend it.

  5. Yeah, I’ve passed that store so many times, and I’ve always wanted to stop in, but I’m usually on my way to work OR on my way to get and/or eat some delicious Indian food. I should make a point of stopping in there, because it seems like the greatest store. I’ve wanted to buy so many of the books right from the display in the window.

  6. Geoff and I just got back from a little trip to Vancouver. While we’re making the 10 hour trek there and home, I try to stop at small local businesses for our gas, coffee and road snacks. I know a lot of people want to know what they’re getting, so they look for franchises; however, I like to try new places I’ve never been. And I’m happy to put my money into small, local businesses instead of the chains that are trying to rub them out.

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