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.