Why Buy Local in 2009? Easy.

Fresh out of the oven.. yum!

Fresh out of the oven.. yum!

2009 is looking soft for many small business owners. Just a weeks before Christmas, I had a chat with Bruce, the owner of Great Brook Farms, a garden center and coffee shop in Bolton MA, as I stopped in to buy a poinsettia, wreath and my morning homemade blueberry muffin. (Now where else can you make one stop for all that?) While the muffins were coming out of the oven, (no kidding) we talked about business. Bruce told me he’s working harder than ever trying to stay ahead.

I went back to my office, where we were finalizing the holiday gifts for our clients. We chose to go with Green Mountain Chocolates, first because their truffles are out of this world, and second because their business is down the street in Franklin, MA. We were amazed and impressed with the level of service we got from the owners there - they even hand-wrote each of our cards to clients!

As co-owner of Nowspeed, I understand all too well the impact a downturn can take on a small company. As we all brace ourselves, and are cautiously optimistic for the coming year, let’s do our part and help our local business owners be able to survive the downturn, too.

Here’s my New Year’s Recession Resolution: I’m buying my coffee at Red Barn rather than Starbucks. I’m going to Tatnuck for books and gifts, rather than Borders. I’m getting my car fixed at Erickson Auto Repair, not the Toyota dealer. Yes, I know that some of these are franschises, and from that perspective they are small business owners, too. But if I had to choose between the closing of another Olive Garden, Arturos Italian Restaurant or the  1790 Restaurant … honestly? I think you can guess the answer.

So next time you make a easy stop at your favorite megachain, ask yourself, “Who in my neighborhood could give me the same products - and benefit more from my business?” It’s an easy question with potentially profound consequenses.

Sideplug: If you live in Massachusetts and love blues with sizzle, don’t miss James Montgomery and Bruce Marshall at Great Brook Farms’ “Blues and Barbeque” January 25th at 6 pm. I’ll be there :)

About the Author

Trish

3 Responses to “Why Buy Local in 2009? Easy.”

  1. I wholeheartedly agree! I have started to do the same thing - search out local businesses - and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the ‘cared for’ feeling and sense of community that I’ve gotten in the process. In our age of megachains and supersizing, it seems maybe we’ve left some of the personality of our country behind. That said, I’m not sure I’m ready to give up Walmart prices just yet… Thanks to the local merchants who are weathering the storm.

  2. Hi Trish!

    Great post! Thanks for the plug for the 1790 Restaurant. When the economy started slowing down in the middle of 2008, I said to my husband Kurt (owner of the 1790) — “What do you think, honey?” His reply, “Oh, we’ve seen recessions before. We’ll just start advertising hamburgers!” That was June. By October, even Kurt’s reply got more focused. This one is bigger and tougher than we’ve seen in recent history. Independents are finding it tougher than ever as big chains like Joe’s American Bar & Grille, Ruby Tuesday, Bertucci’s, and Ted’s Montana are all now within a couple of miles of locally-owned town favorites like Arturo’s and the 1790.

    What has Kurt done to compete, survive and work to thrive in light of these challenges?

    He’s making his offering BETTER for the local community. While the big chains are cutting staffing and service levels and still selling their steaks at $26 or more, he just started a new menu featuring “Recession Priced” offerings like a $17 fabulous 1790 steak and appetizers less than $5 – within his very “un-stamped out” experience offered in an historic country mansion. He’s also calling attention to unique programs like his “Snowshoe Club” which offers the most romantic setting in town during snow falls plus discounts on fun items like Lobster.

    So thanks for the love for the little guy. Places like Kurt’s 1790 Restaurant is aiming to love you all right back.

    - Polly Pearson

    PS: I hope to see you at the “Blues with Sizzle” event on the 25th… sounds awesome!

  3. Great idea - and probably better for the nation’s economy, too. After all, what better way to sustain the middle class than to spend money on local business owners?

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