A farm is perhaps the most difficult type of small business to run. Growing up seeing my parents work long hours and struggle to pay the bills gave me an inside perspective. Then there was the store on main street that I would occasionally visit, where the owner coincidentally was just getting ready to mark down a little something by another 15% -- just when I pointed out that item to buy.
I addressed the idea of nurturing our communities in this post
last week. I'm a big price-matching fan in general. But thinking of businesses as small, local and sustainable demands more than a selfish look at whether I'm saving five dollars on one item. It requires thinking bigger than this, to where and how an item is produced, how a local store is supporting local jobs and charities, and what I want my hometown to look like ten years from now.
The kids and I once visited a quaint museum in Englewood, Tennessee
where they celebrate the heritage of the dead textile industry that once made that community thrive. While we all may not aspire to work in a textile mill, we all pay the consequences of no longer supporting local and regional jobs in US industries like this.
Forgive today's ramblings about small town stores, jobs and family farms. One day of shopping small businesses seems nothing more than a shallow attempt to redeem ourselves for standing in line for hours at a big box store to buy something not made in the USA from an employee who missed Thanksgiving dinner. Like all feel-good movements, if the day inspires year-long habits like asking ourselves "can I buy this locally and is it made locally?" perhaps it will have been worth it.