Shopping local just makes sense

Mike Woodcock from Absolute Sound in Chatham sets the angle of the needle on a turntable from the 1980s.

Many people know the advantages of shopping local includes helping to support businesses continue to provide products and services, and keep dollars flowing within local markets. But there is another advantage to shopping local that is not always talked about, and that is the access to local expertise can prove invaluable.

One such example of a local expert is Mike Woodcock from Absolute Sound in Chatham. Recently, Geoff Wright from Chatham-Kent Economic Development stopped in to test Woodcock’s skills with a classic turntable that was in need of repair.

“I’m like anyone else; I love to shop in all kinds of stores and even online, but when it comes to finding someone with specialized equipment and experience, you just can’t beat shopping local,” said Wright in a media release. “I have been shopping at Absolute Sound for years and Mike is one of the best in the business. He was able to restore my record player to factory-grade quality and to my exact preferences.”

Using a combination of years of experience, refined skills, and tools such as laser adjustments, Woodcock carefully tuned aspects of the turntable cartridge such as the overhang and cantilever to ensure the best possible setup. Doing this helps to ensure that the sound is the best quality, and also the wear on the record is minimized.

“This is my passion, I’ve been doing it since I was 19 and I’m not in this to be rich, I’m doing it because I want to help people,” said Woodcock. “I’ve spent years studying the physics of how sound works so I can provide expertise and knowledge that can’t be found by just clicking a ‘buy now’ button on a website.”

While the Internet has certainly improved access to information, and websites such as YouTube have helped to foster a community of self-reliance, there are still advantages to having access to answers about specific questions in the community.

“For me it’s all about knowing that I’m getting the best advice. Yes, the Internet is a wonderful resource, but it’s also a place where a person can spend hours, even days, trying to find the answer to a question that a local business owner will know in 30 seconds,” said Wright. “Mike saved me quite a bit of money recently by fixing an amp that was damaged rather than just throwing it away. That’s the sort of service that you can’t just find anywhere else.”

To help promote buying local, the Small Business Centre is running a Shop Chatham-Kent campaign for the month of December. Every day a feature business is being shared online with the hashtag #ShopCK to help people see options for supporting shopping local.

“I shop local not just because it supports the local economy, helps to create jobs, and reduces the impact on the environment, but also because it means I will be able to continue to access experts such as Mike,” added Wright.

For more information about the Shop Chatham-Kent #ShopCK campaign, visit the Small Business Centre at


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