I lived in rural Albert County for twenty-some years—at Hopewell Cape, Weldon and finally in Hillsborough. Most of that time I travelled in Sales and Marketing for Hardware and Building Material distributors, but for several years I operated Grandpa Pike’s, a general store in Riverside-Albert. I got to know a wonderful lot of people from one end of the County to the other.
The real reason though, is we take what we have for granted. That restaurant, that canteen, that building supply store will always be there. ‘Let’s go to town where there’s more variety—and save enough to pay for the gas.’ How much will you save, and how much does that cost your community?
Every time a business closes, the community loses tax dollars, older people and others without vehicles must find a way to get to a bigger centre to shop. The community loses jobs. People move away— closer to town because so many conveniences have disappeared. It becomes a downward spiral that is almost impossible to arrest.
We did really well when we had the store in Riverside-Albert—but we should have done better. Does that sound greedy? We operated that store 363 days a year, closing only for Good Friday and Christmas Day. I worked seven days a week. If someone really needed something on the only two days a year that we were closed, I would drive down and get it for them. You’d laugh if I told you how much I paid myself.
There was one thing though, that always bothered me. Sometimes a delivery truck from a Moncton building supply store would pull up in front of our store and ask directions to customers’ homes. That, in itself, wasn’t a problem. Sometimes I even got in my vehicle and led the driver to where they lived—like a good neighbour would.
So, what bothered me? On the back of that truck there’d be lumber, plywood, and other building materials which I had in my own yard! Did they buy it cheaper somewhere else? I don’t know. I wasn’t given the opportunity to quote that job. Competition is fine. It keeps a businessperson honest. It keeps prices down.
If, however, you assume that the deals are better in the bigger centre, you’ll do yourself a disservice when that business closes and you have to buy your product in town.
I don’t live in Albert County anymore. I left for employment elsewhere. I’d live there again in a heartbeat, if circumstances permitted.
But, folks, I urge you to support Albert County by supporting local businesses including the Freshmart in Hillsborough, Albert County Hardware and many others. Don’t forget the smaller businesses either, like Lindsay Butland’s Crooked Creek Convenience in Riverside-Albert. She needs your business too. You’ll find her in the building where Grandpa Pike’s used to be.