Saturday, November 29, 2014

I Shopped Small

Today was small business Saturday. I know the local movement has been coopted by a national company, but it still makes sense to shop local, small, independent businesses when you can. (If you don't have 'em, you can't; but if you don't support them when you do have them...) One of the most important reasons you should is that small businesses move our economy; the money stays in your community at a much higher rate.

I hit the LNS to buy a ton of fabric for Debbie's Ultimate Crazy January Challenge. It was pretty busy when I got there--they were giving 20% off--but when I left there was only one other customer. I hope they had waves of customers in later. Then I went to the needlepoint shop where I can usually find the specialty fibers I need. There were three customers, though there were no sales running. Then I hit the bead store. It was pretty quiet as well, even though they had teamed up with the local knitting shop and needlepoint shop for discounts. I asked the owner how it was going. "Everybody's at the mall," she sighed.

I used to shop Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. Slowly all the funky cool shops gave way to Gaps and Abercrombie and Anthropologie and H&M and J. Crew. The problem with this--and it's happened in countless places-- is that you could just be anywhere. It's the mallification of America. All the same shops, all the same goods, all the same restaurants with all the same foods. Once there were many quaint and useful local shops and now towns across America are full of samey-saminess. I'm sure someone takes comfort in that.

10 comments:

Beth said...

And it is no fun to shop while on vacation anymore for that very reason. All the stores are he same as back home.

Yekaterina Haussler said...

There are only a few small businesses in our area, and I would love to buy my threads and patterns there, but - they are so expensive! I just can't afford it... Although I would really like to help.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

I've seen a lot about Small Business Saturday in the UK this year. It's quite tricky for me because I work for a national company! Without us there wouldn't be a proper bookshop in our town at all. We only just survive because we have the backup of the larger company and are subsidised to a certain extent by the city shops in our chain.
I think a town centre needs a mixture of national chains and local owner-run businesses. What harms us most are the out of town retail parks. Next (clothing chain) opened their branch on one which did so much damage to the town centre, they could have brought many more people into the High Street.

Margaret said...

The town where we went to college went through that. It's all fancy now with the usual shops, no unusual ones. One shop has survived from my college days and seems to be going strong, fingers crossed.

Robin said...

We shopped and ate small on Saturday. Actually, we try to shop local when we can throughout the year.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Robin in Virginia

Beth W said...

One of the most disturbing things, to me, is the homogenization in our culture: shopping, food, etc. And you're right, small businesses keep the money in their community, they don't ship it off to HQ or use it for overseas staffing or production. Plus, you know they've got fair labor laws! The accountability factor is huge. And yet, they're often slightly more expensive (because of their operational size) than the mall and box stores, and since cash is apparently king, that negatively affects them. Although that's not always the case- my uncle's book store was driven out of business because of Barnes & Noble, despite the fact that his books were slightly cheaper. But he didn't have the spare money to run smear campaigns and lawsuits like they did. It breaks my heart, and I try to shop local and shop small as much as possible (for food, books, crafts, clothing, and garden) but there doesn't seem to be a large-scale solution.

Karen said...

We try to eat local as well. Applebee's and Bob Evans are everywhere, but only in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia can you eat at a restaurant called John's, My Pappy's Place...and it's really, really good!

Linda said...

I live in a small town. It is the county seat and we about 53,000 people in the whole county. We just got JoAnn's the first of October and I am still excited. Went in Friday - DMC floss was 3 for .99 and had a 25% off coupon. I bought about 500 skeins. Its going to take me all of December to get bobbins wound before Jan. and Feb. starts.

Linda

Linda

Angela said...

I so agree with you. I have a favorite quilt shop. Not because they are cheaper, but because the owner and her employees are so very nice. I am willing to pay that little extra for the experience of touching the material and having someone actually ask what I am making. They were doing a 20% off for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. Of course I went, not because I am currently working on a project, but because I really want to support them. And, then we ate at a small business. I don't have a LNS, but drive 4 hours up to Modesto a few times a year and stock up. I go there because they know my name! And, if it isn't in stock, they will send it to me! I try so hard to shop local. Sometimes it is hard, but you are correct, if we don't they will soon be gone....

C in DC said...

As someone who moved a lot, there is some comfort in knowing that you can find what you need in one of the big chain stores when you've just moved and have no idea about the local shops. Everything is also decentralized, so "going downtown" to go to the shops doesn't work any more in many places. Having said that, I do like to frequent the local shops once I'm settled in and have had time to talk to the locals.

Also, if you use cash rather than debit or credit, more of the money you spend stays with the local business, as they don't have to pay fees for the use of the card.