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Shop Local

Recently I had occasion to make a visit to my neighbourhood hardware store.  The Home Hardware on the corner of King George and Fairview is close to where I live so it has always been very convenient.  I don't live far from where I grew up as a kid, and I remember the happy face of the beaver when the store was a Beaver Lumber.

Standing in the parking lot I looked across the road at the Farmer's Dell plaza, which was the convenience store that my buddies and I would bike to for candy and treats.  In the plaza are a series of small businesses, many of which, like the Farmer's Dell have been there for years. 

Beside the plaza is Angel's Diner a popular eatery run by Maria and Costas a local couple who have made a name for themselves by providing lots of great food for a great price.  Their employees, many of whom have worked there for years, are Brantford people who know the community and know their regulars when they arrive.

Farther down the street is Al's Shoes which is a Brantford institution with the King George Rd and Dalhousie Street locations.  Al's has a clientele that is not just Brantford based but people come from all over for the selection and the value.  Wendy and I went to school with Angie Ferras one of the family who owns and operates the business (Angie runs the dance store in the same building).  Angie's son Joey just graduated with our son Connor, and they both will be attending St John's this fall, 30 years from when we all started (sorry ladies).

(There is a point to my tour, just hang in...)

One property over is the Pioneer Gas station operated by Randy Kitchen.  It is my belief that Pioneer (a Hamilton based company) consistently has the lowest priced gas in the region.  Randy is the brother-in-law of a high school friend of ours, and a roommate in university -- Mark is also the godfather for our children.

And last but not least is the Mattress Miracle just across from Home Hardware, Brad Grose is a good friend and all the mattresses in our house come from his store.

Standing in one spot I can see half a dozen businesses that I have a connection to, and most importantly, are locally owned and operated.  They are friends, family and neighbours, and this location is not unique, I can stand in many parts of the city and do the same thing, and more than likely so can you.

These businesses provide a service, employ our neighbours, pay taxes, donate to charities and sponsor events; the owners have their children in our schools, they stand at the edge of the same fields and arenas, and they dream and aspire for their community.

Each of us has the ability to support and grow the business-base in our community by buying locally.  Not every business will be locally owned, but we do see local owners of franchises and even local managers.

As we all start to pay attention to where our food comes from, we can start to look to our neighbours in the Counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk -- we can feed ourselves within a 30 minute drive.  Visit the Farmer's Market and see what your neighbours are growing, making and selling.

There are businesses, restaurants and skilled individuals in our community that you may not even know about.  Make your summer project for you and your family to support a business that you haven't before.  Get out and explore, and lay a claim to what will make you say "This is MY Brantford."

Be a Booster, Shop Locally.  Build Brantford's Prosperity.