I enjoy a lost cause much more than a regular cause.
Case and Point: The historical downtown area of my hometown ebbs and flows like the ocean. Sometimes, you’ll have really good shops, and then sometimes you’ll have the way-overly-priced boutiques that I could never afford. So when this one particular store, Design Co., moved in downtown, many of us were thrilled. Here was somewhat reasonably-priced, adorable clothing and accessories. Two of my favorite summer shirts came from there.
That was all I purchased.
Due to lack of sales, Design Co. had to shut its doors. When they did, they had a huge blow-out sale, and I racked up on shoes, dresses, etc. I purchased what I have deemed my “Elvis shoes” (blue suede ballet flats) for about $14. They were regularly about $60. Yeah, I call that a deal.
I do like a good deal, and maybe that has something to do with it. But here’s Case and Point No. 2: Our university had an outstanding dairy. Quality meat, addictive cheese (seriously, I had a problem), mouthwatering ice cream, fresh milk – it was fabulous. However, I didn’t go there too often because of two reasons: 1) They closed at 5 p.m. on weekdays and weren’t open on the weekends and 2) To get there, I would have to drive AWAY from my house. Frankly, if I manage to get off of work a few minutes before 5 p.m., I am going HOME. I did pick up a few things, but a lot of my meat came from the supermarket just for convenience's sake. Eventually, word leaked out that the dairy would soon shut its doors forever. The student paper ran huge stories calling for the administration and the public to save the dairy, but in the end, the administration had to make a tough call. Though it breaks my heart, they made the right decision; it’s hard to have a dairy department when you don’t have a single dairy major.
And now we have my favorite coffee shop: FM 2.0. Okay, that’s not its official name, but it’s what I call it. They opened back in the fall just a few months after FM 1.0 closed down, much to my chagrin. I haunted FM. It had my favorite coffee bean (Red Sea Blend) and went there on a daily basis when I worked at the newspaper. They closed last summer, and I mourned their loss, though not as much as others – college students literally held a vigil outside its doors one night. When FM 2.0 opened, I was thrilled to see it was the same(ish) management and same menu. I didn’t go as often (thanks to the Keurig), but if I purchased coffee, it was from 2.0.
And Friday the 13th was their last day open. Fitting, right? I made my last coffee purchase when I heard they were shutting their doors and drank in the sweet aroma and flavor that only really good coffee can epitomize. Alas, poor FM 2.0., I knew him sort of well.
That’s the problem, it seems. Though the dairy wasn’t downtown, it’s less than a mile from the downtown area – why don’t people support downtown? Why don’t I support downtown?
A friend of mine owns a cute clothing store downtown, and, when possible, I do try to shop there. Granted, I just don’t shop that much for clothing. I know something I need to purchase, and then I go find it. I don’t often just go peruse clothing (much to my husband’s happiness, I’m sure, haha!).
But I do want to support our town’s downtown area. We have some fantastic restaurants and cute clothing and hobby stores. Yeah, it’s slightly more pricey, but everything downtown is a good product.
A few weeks ago, American Express had this big push to shop local. That’s a fantastic idea. Eat produce from a farmer’s market. Buy at least some of your clothing from a downtown merchant. Eat at local restaurants – you KNOW the locals have better food than chains. Seriously.
I’m not a businessperson, but those who own small businesses don’t have an easy job. Maybe small businesses can thrive, even in this economy and even fighting big corporations. The best we can do for them is to walk in their shop and make a purchase – even a small one like a cup of coffee.