By Paige Bennett
I’ve grown up in the community of Preston and love it here. I love the rural farmland, the hills and trees and trails that we are surrounded by and just the uniqueness of our small town life. One thing that makes our community unique is the small businesses. The “you can’t find them in other towns or big city” businesses.
I’ve been thinking about that and even though I’m headed off to college this fall, I want to be able to come home and find these businesses still in operation. I want to be able to grab a sub at the Sweet Stop or fruit from the orchards or check out the latest fun stuff at the flower shop. I even am looking forward to walking through the shops my mom loves to check out that I sometimes have asked that she drop me off at home first instead of going along to look. While these personal reasons are meaningful to me, there are a multitude of other reasons to shop local or support our local businesses and economy.
You can choose to stay local for your services, shopping, dining and other needs. We have grocery shopping, insurance, salons, gifts and clothing, accountants, gasoline, hardware stores, plumbers, electricians – everything we need is right here. By working with our neighbors, friends and fellow residents you help out the local businesses. It gives you a chance to support talented artists and small business owners who take great pride in their work.
Independent businesses define a community’s self-image and create a sense of pride for the people who live there. Spending money at local businesses helps keep the community alive. In addition, all of the local places where we eat, shop, and have fun have the potential to make a community feel like home. It is a great way to stay present in your community and interact with other community members.
Shopping local can be much more economically smart rather than buying from chain stores. Locally owned businesses operate from within the city, which means they make more local purchases that require less transportation. Less transportation contributes to less waste, traffic congestion, wildlife, habitat loss and pollution. It also results in less packaging needing to be used.
There is power in shopping at local businesses. The dollars you spend locally often have a greater impact than if you were to spend your money at a chain store. You are seen as an individual and not as a consumer statistic. Local businesses also have the advantage of tailoring their sales strategies to the local customer and community rather than planning it on a nationwide market.
Local economic growth attracts new talent and professionals, who may create businesses of their own, which will, in turn, enhance the local economy. College graduates are a valuable asset to entrepreneurial businesses. It is important to retain young professionals living in the area.
So as I plan to head out in the fall, I’m looking forward to returning home and continuing to support local businesses. Not only that, even though I’ll be a poor college student, I’m planning to check out the local community businesses in my new home away from home to support them, as well.
Paige Bennett is a student at Fillmore Central High School. She is one of eight area students participating in the Journal Writing Project, now in its eighteenth year.