It’s something we don’t always think about, but people throughout our cities and towns own and operate shops, businesses and restaurants all around us. They provide not only goods and services that we love to buy and consume; they employ people, and their sales add revenue to the local tax base. Know what else they provide? A sense of connectedness, pride, and yes, ownership. Let that last one sink in a bit…
These are the businesses that support fundraising activities at the local elementary school; they provide gift certificates for the raffle to help benefit a local shelter; they sponsor youth and adult sports teams. They are part of the fiber of our communities.
We may not “own” our favorite pizza joint, but some how it’s gotten way passed our collective pocketbook and gone straight into our hearts; it feels like our place. It’s the restaurant we always recommend and it’s the one we like sitting in with friends for any reason at all.
Can we cultivate such affinities for corporate-controlled, big box-type places? Sure. But it’s different some how. And you know it is.
We may not pay the rent at our favorite vintage store, but week after week, we find ourselves there being helped by our friend that knows the exact pair of boots we’ve been seeking. We feel a little special there. They make us feel welcome and wanted.
And that’s really the essence of the Buy Local movement. It’s the feeling that as consumers, we matter — and that we can return the favor by shopping or eating there.
So on your next shopping excursion, stop in a local independently-owned business. You might make a new friend or even see a neighbor. You’ll also be strengthening your own local micro-economy by keeping resources right in your community and you just might fall in love with a coffee shop you never knew existed.