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The Change Begins in Your Hand

Local, PLAZA DISTRICTDusty GilpinComment

Well, I'm at it - again.

It's been 5 months since I made my case for shopping local. It got quite a few shares and lots of hearts and thumbs. I was pretty stoked on the social media impact that little article had. I poured a lot of honest thought into it, and I think I allowed myself to share some things that a few other local retailers were wanting to say.

So here I sit, again, typing up another blog about shopping local. As a small retailer, of course it's a topic I'm passionate about. However, some of the conversations I've had with other local retailers and artists have been nothing short of heartbreaking. The wind is being taken from our sails (and sales).

After this incredibly divisive political year, shopping local is one of the most bipartisan actions one can take. Both sides want changes of some sort but those changes aren't going to trickle down because you vote once every 4 years in a presidential election. Change should happen from within and the change begins in your hands! Shopping local is as patriotic a duty as voting and has daily, localized results. You cast a ballot every time you make a purchase. You have the ability to cultivate community and culture when you reach into your wallet. You become the lobbyist when you shop. Amazon is convenient and next day shipping is neat - but you know what is really neat? Having a conversation and an impact on the culture of your city!

I won't be as long-winded as my last article, but I urge with you to be consciously considerate when you make a purchase. Think long term about the impact your dollar has. This is not about hopping on the bandwagon of a trend, it's about really investing into your city and neighborhood.

"The change begins in your hands" is a slogan and image we want to spread. If you are as passionate as we are about supporting local businesses, we'd like to let you use this image. Below are a few different file types so you can utilize this image on social media, print, or wherever you find suitable. We'll likely print up some stickers and whatnots with the image soon. Thanks for supporting small businesses, it means so much to us.

11x17 Print

(3) 11x17 Print

Social Media (Square)

Social Media JPEG

Stencil

The Case for Shopping Local

Dusty GilpinComment

You've heard it before - I've said it before. So why does it need repeating, really?

As a retailer and business owner for 10 years, I've learned to navigate the highs and lows of retail trends. It doesn't take a long tenure in business ownership to realize things like; January is slow, December is busy, etc. These things are obvious - plan and store for the slow seasons. These practices are as old as time; proverbs and fables warn us of the folly of improper preparation.

I'm not the type to boo-hoo when we hit a slow season. I grew up in a family where 'pulling yourself up by your bootstraps' was second in nobility only to the faith we practiced. My father was an entrepreneur, my mother was an entrepreneur, both my grandfathers were entrepreneurs; we're seasoned when it comes to running small businesses and having perseverance through the hard times.

However, as much as I should know the importance of local spending, I still forget. I need a reminder every once in a while of why spending my buck at Forest Lumber is more important than spending it at Lowe's - and I love Lowe's. I stood in the coffee aisle at Wal-Mart grocery store yesterday and bought a can of Folger's coffee - I should've gone to any number of local coffee shops and bought locally roasted grounds. I get it - I slide into the same habitual slope of convenience too.

So, what? Frankly, that $10 is a one-millionth (or less) of a drop in a bucket to Wal-Mart and Folgers, while that $10 is a dearly important to the local roaster and coffeeshop.

Don't worry, my shop and the others aren't going anywhere. We're trekking along and doing our best to crank out new products and events that will entice you to visit our spaces and bring you into our communities - but it is slow. It's just as important for us to work our hindparts off during the slow season to earn your dollar - we're not exempt from working for it by any means.

I just want to share this reminder that local shops are hitting a really slow season (one of the slowest in a very long time), and the importance of spending local is more than just providing an artist their rent. Spending local is the best way to sway your economy, politics, environment, and culture. Spend a buck in a big box and only 40% hits your local economy. Spend that dollar in a local shop and almost 70% gets recirculated in your community if not more.

These infographics have been shared a ton, but they are awesome - and the numbers have sources. Give them a look-see or share them if you're inclined. As always, thank you for your patronage - I will always be grateful for our customers and I'm equally as grateful for customers of other small community driven businesses.