06/26/17 0 THE THREE STORES
There are three stores that have greatly contributed to my love of local shopping and my localist mindset. I would even say that they are the inspirations for the development of LOCALMOTIV.
A little boutique in Toronto
The first store, I won’t spend too much time on because it is a little clothing boutique in Toronto, Ontario Canada - where I had lived prior to moving to California in 2000. But, I started shopping at bodyblue sometime around 1997. With few exceptions, I go back to bodyblue to refresh my wardrobe every time I visit Toronto. Sam has known me all that time and has come to know all my family, many friends, and even a few exes. Friends will ask “where did you get that?” thinking this or that article of clothing is from some cool place in San Francisco but it is almost always from bodyblue. They have great stuff, they know my style, and they know how to gently coax me into something new and different. They even managed to move me away from a wardrobe full of black - though it may have taken years. It is always an outstanding experience. I think of bodyblue as the store that made me realize how essential and unique local shopping truly is.
My wine dealer...
I have been going to the second store since about 2004. Jeff Diamond opened his first Farmstead Cheese and Wine store in Alameda and I stumbled upon it sometime soon after it first opened. I go there for all my cheese and wine needs. I call him my “wine dealer” because he hooks me up with just what I need and even more. I moved to Montclair in 2010 and lucky for me, he had already opened a store here too.
And it is the kind of local store that I cannot complain about being too expensive - a common complaint about shopping local. I have compared prices on the internet and at other retailers and have found Jeff’s prices usually beat any competition. But more importantly, he has all price ranges for all tastes. I am not quite sure how he does it but if you are going to spend around $10 for a bottle of wine, it will be the best $10ish bottle that you will ever find. And it just gets better from there if you can afford to invest a few more bucks in a bottle. In my opinion, he has the best of the best at every price point, in every varietal. It is a crazy good place to buy wine.
Did I mention the cheese? I am no expert on cheese… but all I have to do is go there and chat with a knowledgeable staff member who will always guide me to fantastic choices just by getting an understanding of my tastes and purchase history. If all else fails, they will give me samples until I find just the right cheese for the occasion.
I might not be the most dynamic party-goer but when invited to a get together everybody typically enjoys my wine and cheese selections. I go nowhere without a lovely bottle of wine from Farmstead Cheese and Wine and I have pleased a crowd many a time with the cheese plate as well.
These two stores epitomize my love of local. I know the owners and they know me, my family, and friends. Importantly, they have unique selections and fantastic staff that guide me through my purchase decisions. For me, I am always in search of those kinds of stores and when I find them, I will probably become a loyal customer.
The reason for LOCALMOTIV
The final store is also in Montclair and the story is a little different. I have actually only ever bought one item there but more purchases are forthcoming. Someone’s in the Kitchen is the reason I came up with LOCALMOTIV. Here is what went down. Sometime in late 2015 and early 2016 I went on a bit of a shopping spree. There were some things that I had wanted for quite sometime to upgrade my kitchen gadgets and tools. I wanted a new Chef knife, coffee maker, cutting board, frying pans, a pepper grinder, dutch oven, etc. Over a period of a couple of weeks, I researched the items that I wanted and bought everything online even though I knew there was this amazing little store not much more than 1.5 miles from my house. A lot of it came from amazon. I found shopping on amazon to be the same old unsatisfactory shopping experience. The whole amazon shopping experience is another blog topic (honestly though, you don’t want me to go off about amazon so I will not make that a future topic).
And I felt guilty… really guilty… why didn’t I just go down to Someone’s in the Kitchen and get all the items there?
That guilt and that question stayed with me for a long time. As I tried to answer that question, I came up with the solution: LOCALMOTIV.
So, I am completely indebted to Someone’s in the Kitchen and I will be going on a shopping spree there soon as I find my kitchen needing a few more quality gadgets. Moreover, I am going to try and get Jennifer, who is a most warm and charming merchant, to talk to me about her gem of a store very soon so I can write a blog all about it in more detail.
Are you a localist shopper too? If so, please share with us why you choose to shop locally. What are your “LOCALMOTIVs?”