News / buying local

Covid-19 Impact and New Listings

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this unrelenting global pandemic!

It's been almost a year since this blog was updated so I thought I should take a few minutes to explain the impact of Covid-19 on WithAPast, and how new inventory items are being safely added to the online store. 

During the first few years of our operation, much of the inventory listed for sale on WithAPast has come from downsizing and estate sales, many of which have been within a 200 km radius of our location in Hamilton, Ontario. As is the case for many other small businesses, this past year has brought changes to the way we do business and in particular, how we acquire inventory. Although there are still a great many estate and downsizing auctions taking place, I haven't attended one since March, 2020.

This change in our supply chain would would normally lead to a significant shortfall in new product listings. Fortunately though, I've had a rather large backlog of items waiting to be cataloged, researched, photographed, edited and posted onto the site. There are many reasons for such a significant backlog and procrastination is just one of them :)  Primarily though, I don't like to post new items unless I have a fairly good idea of what it is, where it comes from, and what its original cost might have been. Researching works of art is one of my biggest challenges.

As I make my way through the backlog and new items are slowly being added to the site, you can be assured that all of the items listed for sale have been safely stored in my home storage room for at least the past year. I wrote an earlier blog post about how to safely open and clean delivery packages during Covid-19.  I feel very  fortunate to have been working from home since early March, 2020. I expect that to continue into the Fall of 2021.

Hopefully this post will give customers some peace of mind as to the origins of all items listed for sale on WithAPast. If you have any specific questions about our process, please feel free to reach out via e-mail to



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Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Buying Local

One of the best things about owning my own business, is that I get to set the rules. Each and every one of them. I'm responsible for everything that happens on this site; the successes; the failures.  Inventory I've purchased that turned out to be not such a great find, nor quite what I was expecting, now graces the shelves of my local Salvation Army and Value Village.  A lesson here.  Different items that simply caught my eye or seemed like a very good deal, have just as often turned out to be an exceptional find, or a rare and wonderful learning experience along with the purchase.  A lesson there.

This new venture of mine is almost a year old and the past months have given me the opportunity to fine tune the operational side and solidify my vision.  Not much has really changed, to be honest.  My primary purpose is quite simple and remains much the same as when I started. To give new life to well made, quality and previously owned treasures.  By default, buying previously owned items also has much less of a negative environmental impact.  Two of the main reasons for launching this start up.

I didn't really anticipate how much I would enjoy setting my own rules. I'm quite fortunate that I have an actual day job and am not completely reliant on income from this new venture to put food on the table. Again, because I set the rules, I get to choose how much time I spend going to auctions, estate sales, and the like as well as how much time I spend on all the other aspects of starting an online business.  And there are a great many! 

I get to choose to use the most environmentally friendly packaging available when shipping orders, because it matters. I get to choose to purchase the compostable, biodegradable, 100% recycled PaperNuts from a local start up, because supporting local businesses matters. I get to choose to help establish and to opt-in to a resale royalty payment initiative from the sale of art on my site, because it matters.  The token royalty fee will hopefully benefit artists in some small way, for the resale of their work, even if the amounts are quite small.  Because the actual dollar amount is not the point, and because paying artists fairly for their work matters.  And I get to choose.  

My inbox has been jam packed this week with teasers, notifications and other advertisements about Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  There have been endless countdowns all month from all the online service providers I use to run this site, reminding me of what I should be doing to maximize the potential to increase online sales during the next few days, and following holiday shopping season.  While I did briefly consider that as a new e-commerce retail business I should probably wade in and join the frenzy of what is no doubt the busiest shopping season of the year, I very quickly decided to decline.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales blitzes simply don't align with my vision for this site.  I much prefer to offer well researched, fairly priced, quality items at all times of the year.  That they've also been ethically sourced and shipped, is a bonus.  And I get to choose!


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