Many years ago, before the birth of the superstore, people did not have the luxury of traveling to the next county to shop at a national retail store. Instead, those who lived in small, rural towns took advantage of their local resources.
Gradually, as our world got bigger and our vision expanded, large corporations began to fill our need for one-stop shopping. The allure of lower prices and larger stores took the masses out of the small "mom-and-pop shops" who had served the rural communities, and money from local coffers. As a result, many long-standing indepentantly owned businesses closed their doors, and families moved away.
Today, we find ourselves in a precarious situation. The economy is failing. Unemployment is on the rise. Gas prices are inflated. And, political unrest is widespread. The landscape is once again changing, as big-businesses are supplemented by local businesses whose aim is to serve the local communities on a smaller scale. Residents, who can no longer justify a 15-mile trip for a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread, are taking advantage of the situation as a cost saving measure.
As long as our rural communities have stores to serve their needs locally, our pocketbooks will be spared the abuse of the deficit. True, the prices may be slightly higher at smaller stores, but the math is the same when you factor in the cost of gasoline used for trips out of town.
But the idea of shopping locally is not unique to this area. Buy local campaigns supporting the "brick and mortar" of our nation are springing up every day in all parts of the country. One such idea is the 3/50 Project founded by Cinda Baxter, who resides in Minneapolis,Minn. where the Project began.
Her ingenious plan is simple: Choose "three" independently owned businesses in your area and stop in browse the aisles, buy something small. If half the employed population spent "$50" each month in the local businesses, it would generate enough revenue to greatly impact the local economy and perhaps save a dying business in our area. (Imagine what could be accomplished if more than half of us adopted this way of thinking.)
Simply put, shopping locally is not only convenient, it's a smart way to save money and support the bricks and mortar of our community.
Editor's note: For more information on the 3/50 Project, visit www.the350project.net.