I guess the real phrase is "You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?" I told you about my friends Chet & Nellie and the beautiful new home they just purchased. Chet owns a local hardware store. The business actually employs three generations of his family; sadly something almost unheard of today. I don't think you'll be surprised to hear that their business is struggling. The mom-and-pop-type of business is being hardest hit in this economy and thousands are going under every week.
A few months back I wrote about a buy local organization in our area called the Blackstone Valley Independent Business Alliance. Chet and Nellie have been instrumental in organizing and promoting that effort because the idea of 'buying local' could mean the continued success or failure of their business.
What else does buy local mean to Chet? It means rather than going to one of those big box home improvement stores, we go to Chet's store. What does buy local mean to us? It means we get quick and personal service when we shop. I admit when I've got all the time in the world, wandering around the aisles of one of the ginormous stores can be slightly entertaining but when I need something and can't find it or someone to help me, it drives me crazy!
One thing I'll tell you it doesn't always mean is a better price. And honestly even if it does occasionally, the few cents I'd save isn't worth it to me.
Think of it this way....the money you spend in a local hardware, paint, appliance, lighting, camera or computer store stays in your community. It goes to pay a family's mortgage, tuition, grocery bill and even better....it stays in the community when these people shop in other local businesses.
The money you spend in those big box stores certainly does pay some salaries and some local taxes but the biggest part of it goes to Georgia or Arkansas and pays the bonuses of high-paid executives who don't give a rat's butt about you or your community! Do you ever see one of those company's names on the uniform of one of your kid's teams? They seldom reinvest in the community they are located in.
I got an email from Nellie this week telling me they have purchased new furniture, appliances and central vacuum. I asked where she bought everything, and she gave me a list of local companies. Here is what Nellie wrote...."I take the service of buying local for granted because I see the service provided by Vose, but when we were actually buying and listening to the expertise of the salesmen and getting priority treatment and instant service, I appreciate it so much more. Imagine free delivery in this day with the price of gas."
Nellie and Chet are Walking the Walk not just talking the talk. We all should.
Image from Google Images