Monday, November 30, 2009

Why Shop Locally

Believe it or not, I actually had a great shopping experience this weekend - even amidst the dreaded Black Friday. My plan for the long weekend was to get the house decorated for the holidays and I had a few small things I still needed to find. Wanting to avoid the malls, I visited local stores instead.

What a refreshing experience! On Sunday, in search of a tree skirt, I stopped by J. Matheson in Everett and found the owner outside hanging lights on his store. Although the sign indicated they were closed, I inquired anyway since there were a few lights on inside. Saying he never liked to turn customers away, he offered to open the store up for me and his wife met me inside. I found a beautiful and unique skirt in a few minutes, and even my boys didn't mind shopping because the store comes with a cute dog that loves to play.

I also shopped at Christmas Gifts on Broadway and was instantly transported back to another generation. Each room of the old home is filled with decorations and classic gifts for children (books, Madame Alexander Dolls, wooden blocks, tea sets). You can nibble cookies and drink hot tea while you wander through the rooms. There was no hustle or bustle and my boys were amazed to see a shop owner who actually used her math skills to total up the purchases. No calculator, no computerized register, just pen and paper!

With the economy still hurting, I love the idea of keeping the money I do spend in my community. While the items I bought weren't necessarily made in my local area (which would have been even better), research shows that local businesses reinvest in the community 3 to 5 times more than chain or "big box" stores. In the end, they were both great shopping experiences that warmed the heart, rather than leaving me tired and jaded.

What about you? What local stores do you support and why?

1 comment:

  1. It's a good feeling when we can buy things locally! And, like you say, it helps to keep local stores from not going under, competing against the giants! I love the fact that I can walk to my local stores and get to know the owners and people who work there!
    Rosie Emery