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Shop local and support your community

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

 

 

Last week, New Castle attorney, and preservationist, Joe Yates told us “Human beings need community. Small towns and neighborhoods in a big city provide a sense of that community.

“If we preserve small towns and neighborhoods it makes us whole. You can’t have a sense of community if you live in a soulless subdivision and use an automobile to get everywhere you go and shop at malls and bix box stores. We need to preserve our communities.”

We are a nation obsessed with cheap. And our obsession is going to cost us.

We elbow past each other with a grace that would impress professional linebackers, just to get the last techno-gadget-thingy on markdown the day after Thanksgiving. All in the name of saving money on something we probably don’t need to begin with, and that probably isn’t worth what we’re paying for it anyway (ask my husband about the $25 DVD player that lasted a month).

We have abandoned, in droves, hometown businesses, often locally owned and operated, for big box businesses 15, 20, 50 miles away — and whose owners are, probably, thousands of miles away — in the name of saving a couple of bucks.

Yet we fail to factor in the extra gas to get there; that the money we spend there isn’t being spent at home supporting our neighbors; that if our local businesses don’t get our support, they will die.

And as our local businesses die, our community fades. That which makes us unique is gone. We become a corporatized, homogenized clone of, well, everyone and everything else.

What would Henry County be without those businesses that make it unique? Where would we be without them?

Year after year, we hear about the businesses of yesteryear: the grocery stories, the restaurants, the barbers, etc., who used to be here. The ones who eventually closed their doors because people took their money elsewhere, usually out of county.

Where IS our sense of community? On the shelf of a big box store? I certainly hope not, and I know it’s not too late to reverse the problem.

Support your community, keep your money here.