Friday, November 21, 2008

Local Challenge

Have you been reading the news? Depressing, isn’t it? Everyday we hear about families struggling, massive lay-offs, and businesses closing. It’s time for us to ban together and support the independent businesses in our community by shopping locally. That is the message of the American Business Alliance through America Unchained which takes place this Saturday. Indiebound is also about raising awareness and taking pride in our communities.

I recently read an article about how people are cutting back this holiday season. The reporter asked one shopper what she was doing differently this year and her response was that she was doing all of her shopping at a single big discount store. You know the one. This got me thinking, what would happen if everyone made the same change in their shopping habits? What would happen if every shopper in America shopped exclusively at this one store this holiday season?

Think about that for a minute. Now fast forward one year, five years, ten years. Eventually this particular store would be the only one still in business. How would that change your shopping experience? What I envision is a retailer that has very poor customer service and extremely high prices. Why not – they have no competition. They don’t have to impress their customers since their customers have no other options. Imagine how this would affect local farmers, artists, authors, manufacturers, distributors, I could go on and on.
Scary isn’t it?

Sure, you could say that I encourage friends, family, and customers to shop locally because I am a local business owner and I want your business. You would be right. But think about this – I live in this community, too. I want the businesses in my community to do well because that helps all of us. You shop at BayShore Books for the used books purchased from your friends and neighbors or the gifts made by local artists or the new books written by local authors. The profits are then spent at other local businesses or donated to local organizations. That’s what keeps our community economically strong. That’s what helps every one of us survive.

I challenge you to do as much of your shopping as possible tomorrow during America Unchained and every day at locally owned businesses. And if you aren't sure what gifts to buy, remember: