Some Island contractors make it hard to shop local

To the Expositor:

I applaud the participants of the Manitoulin Trade Fair and those who organize these events. I have always tried to patronize local businesses and suppliers and usually do, but some lose out on my business, here is why:

I am a weekend cottager. Not yet retired, my time is very limited and this is certainly not helped by the time consumed driving back and forth. When I see an ad in the local newspaper for goods or services I usually respond, but those doing the advertising have to call me back. Not having a telephone or cell service here, communication is difficult. I have left countless messages asking that my call be returned either at a certain time when I made a point of being in cell phone range or at least leaving me a message or else calling long distance when I am home, yet interest in my business seems to have stopped at the ad. I cannot be on Manitoulin during the week, or when it is practical for somebody to come out to my area.

I fully understand that many businesses here are one-person operations, perhaps part-time and that it may be days before the proprietor may get to the voice mail. I do not expect a 24-hour call centre, nor an instant dispatch but at least a reasonable effort at responding to somebody is wiling to spend their money. If I am going to undertake a project on the weekend and arrange for help and tools, I need to be reasonably confident materials will be delivered on time. I wanted the leaking roof fixed before any further damage was done. It would be a great help if answering machine messages would include your available times. If my business is not wanted then tell me to my face then and there—I won’t get mad, I will just go elsewhere.

I can think of the insurance broker who still has not replied to my three calls in 2004, the construction contractor who was too busy to look at my roof, the firewood suppliers who never returned my calls. The hardware store with the help that had no clue as to what I was talking about, but assured me it would be in stock next weekend.

Then I think about the carpenter who actually replaced my roof and has since been rehired for major jobs every year since. The insurance broker who gets my repeat business every year, no questions asked. The real estate broker who actually made long distance calls and was hired again when we purchased the lots next to us. The gas station that emailed me with an estimate when I left my truck there for work. The hardware store that actually delivers what I want when I need it. If you want business, act like you actually want it. I simply will not chase somebody down nor stand in line to ultimately pay out money.

Ronald Kay
Brampton and Assiginack