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Spend your money where it counts

April 3, 2009

Enjoy reading this short, but never the less poignant blog post  about the importance of supporting the locally-owned small businesses in your communities. 

Last summer, I heard a story on the radio about a man who had decided to conduct an experiment. For one year, he was only going to buy products or services from companies where he had personally met the owner.

 

The experiment was meant to combat the impersonal nature of many of our transactions these days. We shop at big-box stores, bank at multinational financial services companies and eat at chain restaurants. The man talked about how he ended up eating at the same three restaurants over and over again because he just didn’t have the time to meet any other local restaurant owners. At the time, the story got me thinking about which three restaurants I would patronize if I could only go to three restaurants for the next year.

 

In today’s economy, I’ve been thinking about this story again, but with a new twist. With more and more small businesses on the edge of survival, I’ve been thinking about which three stores I would most hate to see go out of business, and how I can support them with my dollars.

 

Like the Joni Mitchell song goes, you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. In the past year alone, a toy store where I used to buy gifts for nieces and nephews closed down; a restaurant I once regularly patronized for special occasions went out of business; and a home improvement store that I had visited way more than I’d like to admit when I was remodeling my house a few years ago went bankrupt. I have to admit, in each case I felt a tiny bit guilty that it had been quite a while since I visited any of those stores.

 

The three small entrepreneurs you support regularly with your dollars could be the little boutique on your town’s Main Street, the beauty salon where you get your hair cut, or a local restaurant. It could mean using a real live insurance agent rather than getting a quote from an someone halfway across the country.. It could mean getting your shoes resoled or repaired at the local shoe repair shop rather than buying a new pair from a big department store.

 

In times like these, we all need to put our money where it counts. Whenever possible, shop locally.

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