Editorial: Shop Small Business Everyday
By Jacob Mathias
Just the other day I was shopping at my favorite local bookstore. Actually, it is now my former favorite bookstore. The store- Book Finders- was having a liquidation sale. They are going out of business. This is a bummer for me. I loved this bookstore.
As I was perusing the skeletal remains of the stock, I began to wonder. How could this happen? This was a great store. It had a great staff and passionate owners. Then it occurred to me. Today, as I helped cull the shelves, I noticed that there were more customers in the store than I’d ever seen before. Now, I’m not one to pass up a great deal. I understand why these people were there. I too have to stretch my dollars when I can. But I have to wonder: WHERE WERE YOU BEFORE? WHY ARE YOU JUST NOW SUPPORTING THIS SMALL BUSINESS?
Stevens Point has seen its share of businesses come and go. I understand that sometimes businesses fail, sometimes they succeed. This business should have succeeded.
As the son of a small business owner, as a writer for a small business owner, I am inclined more than most to shop at small businesses. I know not everyone has the same self-interest as I do in this issue; however, next time you’re at Amazon.com, buying your discounted books and DVDs, ask yourself, “Could I look someone in the eye while purchasing this item? Can I know that my money is going towards my neighbor’s groceries, house payment, or daycare?” If you can answer yes to this question, why are you still clicking “add to cart”?
These small business owners who suffer at the whim of the online retail giant are losing their livelihood, all so you can save $5-10. I encourage all of you to save this money elsewhere. Walk to work if you can. Eat in if you can. Save money if you have to, but do it in a way that improves your own community before the shareholders.
You hear people talk about Small Business Saturday. They say, “Oh yes, just shopping one day a year and we can help support small businesses.” This does nothing. It’s a great PR campaign by American Express. That is all.
It’s not enough to support small businesses when AMEX tells you. Do it every day, and when you do, feel good that you are supporting your local economy. Not a faceless CEO from Amazon. Not the Walmartians. You are supporting your neighbors and yourselves. Remember that it takes a village. Community comes first.