Submitted by STEVE JASIECKI
In old town America, before the era of the Internet and big box stores, people didn’t travel far to shop. As towns grew, marketing districts were set aside, usually in the center of town where people would conduct their commerce. These areas became the towns’ business districts.
Going shopping encompassed more than just purchasing products. Shopping was a social experience. When you walked into a store chances are you knew the name of the owner and the employees who worked there. You would be greeted with a smile and a friendly welcome. You may have met neighbors or someone you haven’t seen for a while, have conversations, catch up with each other’s families and discussed local events. People would compare products and give their opinions on which product they like or didn’t like, in an effort to make an informed decision about a product you would perhaps like to buy.
This familiar atmosphere still lives on and you can find it in your local stores. There is a richness that exists that you won’t find in the big box stores and you definitely will not find it staring at a computer screen while online shopping.
Local merchants have a strong vested interest in their city. In the event of a tragedy or when an event is held for a charity, you often see them donating a product, food, gift basket or gift certificates as raffles or door prizes.
They form organizations like business and merchant’s associations or Rotary where they contribute to many civic activities. They donate their time and money to organize town events, festivals and other activities that breathe life into a town.
Local businesses and shops are the lifeblood of a community but they cannot succeed without your patronage. Please consider supporting your local merchants, not just throughout the holidays, but also throughout the year. They are here to help you with the goods and services they know best and it would be a very dull community if it weren’t for them.
Steve Jasiecki is chairman of Sustainable Margate