Spring time is Farmers' Market time. I love fresh fruits and vegetables but the produce I find in the supermarket leaves much to be desired. Most of the time the quality stinks (sometimes literally) and the prices make me swoon. So Farmer's Market season makes me smile.
I try to shop locally whenever I can. Whether from a local farmer or a local hardward store, I try to keep my money in my community. Ever need just ONE screw? Go into one of those huge home stores that sell everything from drapes to toilet plungers to seeds asking for one #8 flat head wood screw. Well, first you'll need to find someone to ASK. Good luck. And if you do find what you want, you'll have to buy a plastic box of 20 rather than the 1 or 2 you need.
Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms -- continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community. Ever see the name of one of those huge home improvement stores on the uniforms of the local soccer team? And don't assume that buying from one of those chain stores is going to save you money either. Often you are forced into buying more than you need as in my screw example. Besides, even if you do spend a few pennies more, if the money ends up going back into your community, it's an investment, not a loss.
Having always been a proponent of buying locally, I recently joined the Blackstone Valley Independent Business Alliance. Members include insurance agents, restaurant owners, paint & hardware stores, flower shops, builders, a radio station, printers, a tire shop, a ski shop and more....all owned by people who live AND work in the community. These people are my neighbors; I run into them at the post office. They remember MY name. I don't know about you but I like that. I hope we never lose that small-town America feeling in My Community and I intend to put my money where my mouth is.