Why Deep Down You Really Want To Shop Local
When you look down your main street in your town, what do you see? When I look down the streets of my hometown, I don’t see buildings; I see the faces of the people that own those businesses. Each one represents a family where people own homes, go to work, go to concerts, and have pets-they live. Before I owned a shop myself, I never thought about how shops survive. I shopped local quite a bit; but the thought of overhead, employees, or how the owner made a living rarely crossed my mind. I actually enjoyed buying from people who knew my name or my face.
Owning a shop myself has made me much more cognizant of how I spend my money. At home I stopped shopping at a large retailer for stocking stuffers; I love to peruse the fun options at Planet on Front Street. It has changed how I behave when I am out of town. When I travel, I find a lovely little art gallery, and I will buy what they have to offer and bring back gifts for friends or myself. When you own your own business, every little bit helps.
I have been trying to write this for a while, but I was consumed with hanging the Holiday Show and decorating the shop. This morning was spent driving a large piece of art an hour and a half round trip, which was wrapped with a bow. I wrapped it while I was watching Monday night football with my son (tradition) so that I could be on the road early this morning. Don’t read this as a complaint-I enjoyed every minute of it. A small business owner will go the extra mile, because your business means so much!
I always include a matching ornament for everyone in my family as part of their Christmas; my husband and I have a pair, and the children will leave home one day with a collection of ornaments. Last year, I made a point of trying to buy more local items as the aftermath of Florence’s devastation lasted into the holiday season. I made my way to the A Christmas Shoppe on Front Street. I learned that the owner and her husband had lost everything in the storm-two houses, two cars, a motor home, all their belongings. A lot of people got ornaments last year. There are few people more tenacious than a shop owner. One conversation, one sale, could change that person’s day.
I have a young teenager that at one point reeked of Axe body everything-and I told him that we were going to Bloke, so he could sample some new fragrances. He liked Michael at Bloke, and has become quite a fashion hound. He loves the manliness of the shop, and the quiet order there. I think my son would go to Michael if I weren’t here, for advice on how to present himself, or maybe romantic advice. It does take a village. If you don’t support local, you cannot complain about the fact that there is an
international breakfast company on Front Street. If you choose not to shop locally perhaps all of downtown will resemble your local mall. Even if you do not like to go downtown, the tourists do. Without local shops and restaurants our Riverfront will be so much less charming. Small businesses keep your downtown beautiful, diverse, and interesting. They keep the local NPR affiliate on the air. (One of my favorite things about my business is that we are an underwriter.) We are the spirit of the town.
So the take home message is, it takes a village, and you can’t have a village without shopping small.