Real Shopping Experience
Holiday bells ring as the door to a local shop closes behind you. Out of the cold and into the warmth of a festive storefront, you’re greeted with a pleasant smile. A shop owner guides you around, giving personal attention and expert knowledge on exclusive products rarely seen in big-box stores. Making suggestions as she walks with you, she picks an item, showing you the fine details and superb craftsmanship that make it so special. Once you’ve decided on your purchase, the shop owner personally wishes you the best during the Holidays as she gift-wraps your purchase. In a modern world where time is a constant factor, we lean towards the routes that save the most time and ignore the community around us for the quickest answer. But consider this: If we only decide to window-shop, vacant storefronts with “For Lease” signs hanging in windows will be all that’s left where a local business once stood.
Small business owners struggle to compete with the low prices massive big-box stores so easily display. Although their prices might not be as low as their colossus competitors, they offer so much more. Unlike that teenage stock boy dragging his feet at these mega-stores, small business owners really care about the products and services they provide. They often offer one-to-one service, unrivalled expertise and exclusive goods rarely found in the maze of massive superstores. They are integral parts of our cities, keeping money in the community and adding character to the cold and calculated economical environment that corporate giants tend to foster. Without the help of consumers, local shopping districts would become ghost towns filled with relics of our shopping past, where ancient entrepreneurs once owned their businesses.
With packed parking lots and pushy shoppers crowding narrow aisles and fist fighting over that last popular children’s toy, holiday shopping can be more burden than bravura. Those that dread these hostile environments ultimately opt for online shopping or tough it out in one quick trip to the local big-box store.
Much like everything else in our progressively faster digital world, shopping is becoming streamlined. Why brave the cold weather and wait in endless lines when you can grab that new iPhone off a website? We live in a hyper-consumerist society where we want everything 10 minutes ago – and for 50 per cent off. As we continue to adapt to the ever-changing, highly digitized cultural landscape, we learn how to cut corners and increase speed, alleviating the burden of unnecessary and time-consuming chores.
This is the Holidays – the time of year to stop worrying about petty desires and give to others. Explore Unionville’s historic Main Street, taking in the sights and sounds of the centuries-old community. Visit all the distinct and exclusive boutiques lining the streets of Kensington Market, with sights and sounds of the season. Find that hidden treasure in the various shops on Wooodbridge’s Market Lane. Rifle through numerous items as business owners provide you with expert advice on the charming businesses in the historic village of Kleinburg. Stray from cookie-cutter merchandise as you stroll down Queen Street West. Think of the exclusive and less-crowded boutiques that line the local shopping districts of your community. If we took the easy route and poured our money into the large and seemingly bottomless pockets of these massive corporate entities, all we would be left with are giant consumer temples built in the honour of low prices and commercial brands. Don’t just shrug off “going out of business” signs and chalk it up to mismanagement by some inexperienced entrepreneur. Take responsibility and make a conscious decision to keep the heart of our