In recent years there has been a major change in the retail economy of
our area. Especially in
the past year, dozens of chain “super” stores have opened to compete with local businesses.
When these stores first came to our area I was impressed. Everything a shopper could desire
under one roof. However, I now find myself questioning whether or not the benefits outweigh
Large chain stores can often offer goods at lower prices than locally owned
“mom and pop”
stores. As a result, many businesses in our area have been squeezed out of business by their
huge competitors. Some people feel this is fair economics, survival of the fittest. But “survival
of the fittest” is not a phrase that comes to mind when I think of life in a small town. In towns
like my home, Danville, we all rely on each other as neighbors. My thoughts most recently turn
to the Flood of Ivan when entire neighborhoods came together to assist those in need. Our
small towns define community in the purest form.
What is a downtown worth to a community? What is the financial value
of having many diverse
businesses “downtown”? Take into consideration who sponsors our local festivals, school
functions, and charity events. The majority of giving comes directly from locally owned
businesses. These are the families who share our neighborhoods, churches, and schools.
These business owners have a personal stake in the health of our communities. What stakes do
chain stores have in us? When the day comes that our area is no longer profitable for the chain
corporations, what will these leave us with, other than several thousand acres of abandoned
asphalt and vacant storefronts?
I realize the cost of living is climbing every year. My wife and I are
raising a family on a modest
single income in a home we do not own. It is hard for many families to meet their needs on tight
finances. In some cases, it costs more to shop locally. However, I feel very strongly that the
cost is worth every penny. By shopping locally you are investing in your community’s future.
When we shop at giant chain stores, where is our money going?
A challenge to You
This holiday season, consider doing all of your shopping at independent businesses.
Rediscover your downtown stores. You may be surprised at the creativity and diversity
offered by our locally owned business that is missing in the “super” stores. We vote with our
dollars, who are you voting for?
Danville area resident