Pay it Forward by Shopping Local

Here is an example.  When you purchase that cup of coffee and pastry from a local coffee shop, you are obviously supporting those business owners, but in addition, you are also supporting the bake shops that created the scrumptious pasties, the artists who display and sell their work there, their employees who receive their paychecks and spend their dollars here, the graphic artist who designs their logoed merchandise, and on and on it goes.

There are many more reasons to shop locally including product knowledge. Can you speak to someone who can give you their expert opinion?  Sure, you can purchase a bicycle online but how do you choose which one is right for you?  Is it the correct height? Does it have all the features you need, even the ones you didn’t realize you needed until they were explained? What about repairs and service?  Where do you turn when you break a chain or need a tune up?  When you shop locally, the staff understands your surroundings and usage and can recommend the product that will best meet your needs.

There are two popular concepts that come to mind when I think about this conscious act to shop local, one of which is “paying it forward.”  One person defined it this way, “to do something kind or useful for someone because someone else had done something kind or useful for you.”  How often has a local business owner shown you kindness?  Perhaps by notifying you that your favorite author’s new book is now in stock, or perhaps by offering you a sample of a new product, or maybe even a free cup of coffee on your birthday.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we kept those acts of kindness going by showing other businesses kindness with our social media reviews, our dollars, and our support?

The second concept that came to mind was that of karma.  In its simplest form, this concept is defined as “what goes around comes around.”  I believe this concept applies here.  If we are willing to do our part to support our local businesses, our communities will then flourish, and we will all be the better for it.  I believe it was John F. Kennedy who said it this way, “a rising tide lifts all boats.”

This is one of, if not the busiest shopping weekends of the year.  I challenge you to unplug your laptop, close your shopping apps, and go visit your favorite local businesses.  Tell them how much you appreciate them, give them a great review online, and then, open your wallet and show them some love.  Perhaps we don’t possess the power to change the world, but we certainly can change our communities!

See you November 30 and December 1 in downtown Lewistown for the Festival of Ice where there will be 50 plus local vendors!

Rhonda S. Kelley, Executive Director, Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce