How far are you willing to go for an outstanding product or exceptional service? As a rule I stick pretty close to home. I like to buy local. I like to use local services. There is just something that feels good about supporting business in your own neighborhood. However, there are a few exceptions. Mind you, they may seem a little extreme but to me there is no option.
As I pull up to the immigration booth at the Niagara Falls, Ontario/New York border and handover my passport to the officer I know that I am about to have the same conversation I have in the same spot every 5 – 6 weeks.
Officer: Where do you live?
Me: Oakville, ON
Officer: Where are you headed?
Me: Williamsville, New York
Officer: What is the purpose of your trip?
Me: Going to get my hair done.
Now this is usually where the reactions vary. Some look shocked. Some look at me like I am crazy. Some think I am up to no good.
Officer: Don’t they have hairdressers in Canada?
Me: Well, yes, yes they do. As a matter of fact they have some very good hairdressers in Canada. I’ve worked in the television industry for too long to count and have had access to some of the best hair and makeup people in the GTA, but Tony is quite simply the best.
“Tony” is Anthony Patrick Gattuso and his salon is Anthony New York. He has a lovely salon right on main street in Williamsville (Ph:716.639.7298). I found Tony by accident, really. My sister asked me to keep her company one day when she was going there. I watched him for a long time and was really impressed. By the time we left I had a new hairstyle and colour. Aside from their incredible skill at what they do, Emily, his trusted sidekick, and Tony always make you feel like you are the most important client they have. Tony actually travels far and wide teaching his hair techniques but always cuts his clients personally.
The best part is on my return trip across the border, when I tell them I have just been over to get my hair done they always tell me, “It looks great”.
Alexis operates her business from her home in Vineland. She is the “Sugar Queen” as far as I am concerned.
Her services are of a more personal nature and once you find someone with her skill you can never go back. Anyone who sugars (or for that matter waxes) can tell you there is no painless way to go about hair removal. But there are people who can make it far less painful than others. Alexis is extremely skilled and has just the right “touch” to make it tolerable. But, perhaps one of her best skills is her ability to make you laugh so hard while she is “torturing” you that you don’t even notice it. Her sense of humour is demonstrated on her facebook page “Alexis’ Hairy Scary Club”.
My most recent find that takes me out of my way is in Little Britain, Ontario. I have been spending a great deal of time East and North of Toronto lately and started hearing about “the best butter tarts in the world”. Hanging around in Port Perry and the Lake Scugog area I kept hearing them mentioned. This is not the first time I had heard someone brag about someone else’s butter tarts, so I took it with a grain of salt and thought perhaps I would make the trip someday. Well, that day arrived last week. As I drove farther and farther north I thought perhaps I had missed it or made a wrong turn, so I stopped to ask for directions at “The Trading Post”. Of course they knew where it was, everyone knew where it was and the instructions involved turning right at the chip wagon and left at Little Britain Road. So I was off again and finally reached mydestination.
The place was packed and everyone in there was acting like it was a party. It could have been a sugar rush, but the staff, including owner Lynda Moss, was patient and friendly. The customers were smiling and happy. I talked to several people there. One lady was from Sarnia and one was from Welland. Both said they had been coming there for butter tarts on a regular basis for years. I was determined to make the trip worth my while and purchased butter tarts to take home, butter tarts to take to a gathering I was headed to, some Chelsea buns and an Eccles Cake. Seriously, I am not generally a sweets person. I am more of a salty chips kind of gal. Let me just say that one bite of a butter tart and I knew what all the fuss was about. The pastry just dissolved on my tongue. I had never tasted anything like it and I am here to tell you that they are without a doubt the best butter tarts ever. I will never eat another butter tart from somewhere else. There would be no temptation. The group I took the other tarts to agreed whole heartedly. For the record the Eccles Cake was the best one of those I had ever had as well, but the Chelsea buns was absolutely the best thing I have ever eaten in my life! I dare you to take a drive some day to “Butter Tarts ‘N More” in Little Britain, ON and tell me I am wrong.
There you have it. Three places I will go out of my way for outstanding product and service. How far will you go and what is it that brings you there?