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Local doesn't mean better

To the editor,

I'm writing to express my disappointment in our listing in your 2008 Shop Halifax City Guide. My concern stems from the four designations that you apply to the listings: locally owned, Atlantic-owned, Canadian-owned and finally internationally owned. This is presented in a way that clearly favours local over Atlantic and Canadian...and since Long & McQuade is Canadian-owned, it comes in third. The other stores are listed with a complimentary recommendation and we receive a mere listing in a sidebar.

On the one hand, I think your intent is noble, but the criterion is too narrow. The implication is that the three locally owned music stores---which are all good stores with good people in them---are somehow more worthy of customer support than our stores because you assume that any profit they acquire will stay in the local economy. How do you know?

Long & McQuade didn't arrive in Atlantic Canada by installing a bunch of new stores with the purpose of drawing business away from the established stores. What we did was acquire the Musicstop chain of stores. This provided us with a network of established stores and provided the former owners with the opportunity to make a graceful exit from the successful business they built. The most important part of this is it provided continued job security and opportunity for the existing employees, and provided us with some of the best music retail people in the business. It's on their behalf that I write today. Virtually all these employees are Atlantic Canadians (and musicians) and we employ about 175 of them. Our music schools provide work for an additional 143 teachers and musicians. These people have shared their talents and provided service to other musical Atlantic Canadians for years. They are worthy of the same recommendation as their counterparts in the other stores.

Since arriving, we have invested significantly throughout the region; work on the outside of the Cunard Street store will be complete in about a month and we are expanding our locations in Bedford, Dartmouth and Moncton. We'll complete construction on a new store in St. John's before the end of the year and we have added to our employee count. We also contribute to various local causes and perennially support the Coalition for Music Education throughout Canada.

I could go on, but I'm simply looking to point out that our status in your book implies that we are pulling money out of the region when in fact we're putting money into it.

By --Brian McConnell, district manager, Long & McQuade Musical Instruments

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