For the past three years, this paper’s November edition has featured a varying but similarly themed column by yours truly, asking you, dear readers, to think before you select who gets the money that you spend at Christmas time on gifts.
“Think Local” precepts and movements have at their hearts a bunch of people with genuine concern for what is lost if independent and locally owned businesses find their annual revenues diminished to the point of being no longer viable. It’s most noticeable and able to be influenced at this time of year.
Opening a store requires a dazzling leap of faith. Leases, signage, supplies and most of all, inventory. People open their stores with high hopes of having enough other people buy into their passion, personality and commitment to make their stores fly.
It only works if the niche is robust enough to be worthy. And if it is worthy, it still requires the owner to be insanely dedicated, working longer hours than they envisioned, and likely making less money than they hoped. All so they can deliver something to the area they serve that is unique and happy and connected to the people that like it.
Virtually all of these people intuitively understand that other indies need that same level of buy-in and support, and they do it — they spend locally!
By the way, support doesn’t mean buying when you don’t like what is offered. Support means buying from them as if it was your son or daughter or wife or friend, when you could get it at bigger places or internet sites.
I have referred a few times to the idea of our society having “lost the thread.” I really hate it that it never occurs to people that there is a huge difference in the health and vitality of a city and region that is tied directly to where people get the things they need and want.
If anyone out there thinks that I don’t understand the appeal and lure of Amazon (for instance), you’re mistaken.
It is brilliant. And, it is also devastating to every local economy throughout the nation.
Every single city becomes less and less vibrant and attractive as a “cool place” if the businesses that populate and serve have their niches become less and less prosperous because customers click or go to big, publicly traded behemoths that exist to siphon money back to headquarters and stockholders.
As that erosion progresses, fewer and fewer businesses open their doors every morning in the cities that once hummed. The city becomes a shell of its former self, because customers that could be engaged and determined to keep their cities alive and well, buzzing like a bee hive, don’t.
When people click to buy because it is “easier” they are also saying that the vitality of their region is not their concern or their responsibility.
That’s not how communities used to be. We used to care, collectively and as a society. Indeed, we have lost the thread.
We simply want to get what we want, and we really couldn’t care less about all that “community” nonsense.
Knowing full well that corporations (both brick and mortar and internet) strategize continually to take as much as possible away just rankles me.
They don’t use the local architect (at least three in Wyandotte alone), nor the local CPA and attorney, or food supply company, or anything that is sourced locally by local businesses.
That’s less money in the area that could have been income for people that would spend it locally as well. Then, any profitability of the operation is removed from each local economy, too, so it doesn’t circulate here; it goes elsewhere.
Three-and-a-half times more money stays local with indie choices, with ripple after-spending echoing out, being spent over and over again.
Compared to simply sending it away, choosing to not even consider the loss of the power of our choices, nor the benefit of or loss to the greater local good.
The stakes have never been higher, friends. I implore you to shift your shopping, as much as you can.
Sure, I’m biased, but that doesn’t make me wrong.
We’re losing Indie businesses at too fast of a clip. The next several weeks of holiday shopping will have an impact, either positive or negative.
Let’s all try our best to make our corner of the Indie world a little bit better.
Reports indicate that many intend to do all of their shopping online this year. We just can’t let that happen here without a solid effort to push back hard.
Think first; Be Local, be a forceful influence for good: Shop Local. Eat at Indie restaurants when you do, too.