Buy Small. Buy Local. Buy Well.
I just got off the phone with Bob in Clinton, NY. For those unfamiliar with Central New York, Clinton is a quaint village about 10 min outside of Collinite’s home in Utica. Bob and I spoke at length about what Collinite marine products might best suit his needs as he’s preparing to take his 24 foot Chaparral out of the water (pretty short boating season here in upstate NY).
We talked shop about the trade offs between using the No. 925 vs. the No. 885 (ease of use/durability etc), the weather this past year, as well as our shared frustration with a certain sports team’s shortcomings. Bob spoke about the great results he’s found from using our waxes, finally concluding with, ”Plus, you’ve always gotta support local products.”
I couldn’t let Bob off the phone until I was completely honest.
“Eh…not always,” I answered. “Only if it’s a good product.”
I think that left Bob momentarily puzzled. “Why was this guy from Collinite shooting down a compliment? “, he must have thought.
“What do you mean?”, he asked.
I tried to elaborate. “I appreciate the fact you like Collinite and that you support what we do here, but if the wax we pour 20 feet from my desk was a less than average product, if it was inconsistent, or if it was of lesser quality, I would never hold it against locals, or anyone, if they didn’t want to use it. Especially in times like this, you can’t just expect people to show up and help you out just because of your proximity. If you’re not providing something valuable, you can’t hide behind the locally-made card.“
Don’t get me wrong-In so many ways, I agree with Bob. Whether it’s from a pumpkin farm, restaurant, or hardware store-buying local is a fiscally healthy consumer trend. As small business owners and workers, no one shares this sentiment more than we do at Collinite. Buying local sustains and creates jobs in our area, makes use of our local taxes, and invests in our community. It also feels good to partake in. You’re contributing to your neighbors’ success stories.
But let’s be honest-buying locally from small businesses, while gratifying, can sometimes prove inconvenient compared to chain retail outlets. It can also be costly. You have to expect as much or more from what you get. Even Bob agreed with this.
Case in point: Saranac is brewed just down the street from the Collinite plant. If its beverages were sub-standard, how could I be expected to buy them-simply because of where they’re made? That just doesn’t cut it. And it shouldn’t. Luckily, Saranac churns out very good products. They may cost a bit more than their nationally known counterparts, but its worth it to some consumers. When I bring Saranac to friends or relatives from out of town, I’m proud to say it’s made in my own backyard. I’m happy to see Saranac at grocery stores in downstate NY. It’s gratifying to see it’s Pale Ale on draft in Maryland. It’s awesome to find its Root Beer on shelves in Alaska.
I think Bob appreciates the standard we hold ourselves to here at Collinite. I’m certain he appreciated the honesty.
Expect more from what you buy-no matter where it’s from.