Supporting local businesses
March 25, 2016 - This was my response in a thread at ToledoTalk.com. I quoted the user that I was responding to.
"How can you pledge to only buy local and yet attract outside businesses to the area?"
I don't understand your point. And where did I say only to buy local? First, that's nearly impossible. Coffee beans are not grown around here, but I support our local roasters.
"Support local non-profits? Don't be fooled by local "non-profits". Just because it says "non-profit" doesn't mean it isn't paying or over paying it's staff and sucking up grants and donations to operate."
Maybe that's your unfortunate experience, but I worked at a local non-profit, and I'm intimately familiar with other local non-profits, and your description is not close to my reality. Chalk it up to mileage will vary.
And maybe before supporting a non-profit, prospective contributors should conduct their own research or volunteer with the org to learn more about it. But that requires effort.
"I'm tired of all the "suggestions" about what I'm supposed to do, where to shop, and what to support ..."
Then ignore the suggestions. How hard is that? I make local business suggestions to people I meet because I'm stunned by how little some people know about their own city.
I simply prefer small businesses like the Phoenix Earth Food Co-op, Zavotski's, Titgemeier's, Black Diamond, Al Habib, Kathy's Confections coffee shop, Clip-N-Dales, Macino shoe repair, Auto Connection, Maumee Tackle, Twin Oaks dry cleaners, Art Supply Depo, the local independent yarn stores, the vendors at the Toledo farmers market, etc.
My favorite massive international big-box chain store is The Andersons.
I make it a point to fill our vehicles with gasoline by shopping at the Sunoco full service station and garage at 2120 W Sylvania Ave, located at the corner of Bellevue Rd, near Blessed Sacrament. The owner bought the station from his dad back in the 1980s. They have performed work on our vehicles. They close around the holidays. It's an actual service station and not a convenience store that sells fuel.
With these small business owners and farmers market vendors, if we are not on a first-name basis, then most at least recognize me because I'm a regular. It's a small town feel in a medium-sized city, and I like that. Some of these businesses are within walking distance of our home. It's why I prefer to live in the city.
I want these businesses to succeed, hence the reason why I suggest them to people who are unfamiliar with them. If most people are disinterested in such charm, no problem. I won't lose any sleep.
And I don't patronize local businesses merely because they are local. If they offer a quality product along with at least good customer service, then I'll return.
It's nice to see the local businesses supporting each other. It appears that more local businesses are sourcing some of their items from other small, local businesses. More locally-owned restaurants are sourcing their food from local farmers.
Another small example: the Kathy's Confections coffee shop/cafe/bakery opened in our hood back in December. It's located at Sylvania and Bowen. They make doughnuts and breakfast sandwiches, but they also sell bread and pastries from All Crumbs Bakery. For the coffee, they use beans from Flying Rhino. And they sell arts and crafts produced by local makers.
BTW, one of the best description that I have read regarding "buying local" or "supporting local" is chapter 16 in the Zingerman's book titled A Lapsed Anarchist's Approach to Building a Great Business.