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Buy local, be local

It is no secret that my local health foods store has, to put it mildly, somewhat high prices. I have also noted that our local pharmacy, owned by the pharmacist and staffed, along with others, by his wife, can’t offer me the same discounts as my health insurance company’s online pharmacy. When I tell people that I shop at our local farmer’s market, they often point out that I pay higher prices there than at Safeway.

Heddi Craft at the Educational Resource Center

Heddi Craft at the Educational Resource Center

Yet, silly me, I keep shopping at these places.

I have decided to invest some of our income in our community, and I feel it’s a worthwhile investment. When we moved here, we had a small office supply store a mile away. At their going out of business sale, I spoke to the owner and he told me that the store had never made money. Our local residents, apparently, preferred driving to Staples for the discounts. Now, I have to say that I love Staples and do shop there sometimes, but I try just as often to make myself go to a local store and pay that slightly higher price so that they’ll stick around. It used to be I had to drive or walk a mile to get a specialized envelope or the right kind of paper. Now I have to drive into Capitola to Palace (preferably) or stop at Staples because it’s convenient and I’m in a hurry.

I remember our lost office supply store when I consider driving elsewhere to buy something that our local natural foods store sells. I’d love it if they could afford to charge slightly lower prices, but that will never happen if they can’t afford to stay in business.

I just heard that we got a new little science store nearby and once I check it out I’ll put up a review. You can be sure I’ll check it out, and you can be sure I know that it will have higher prices and lower inventory than I love our local educational toy store, Kaleidoscope, and I go there even though they don’t always have what I want. Every time I consider ordering things they carry online, I imagine life without Kaleidoscope. Our bank account would be fuller but our lives would be less rich.

I make a point of buying books from Bookshop or Bookcafe, even though I know I get better deals at Amazon. Bookshop has started a “One Book Pledge” program on Facebook. Their point is…

A recent study found that even customers who would define themselves as a loyal independent bookstore customers only buys four out of every ten books from an independent bookstore. Imagine what would happen if everyone dedicated themselves to buying that fifth book from an independent as well. For a store like ours, it means more local jobs, more author events, the ability to carry more unique, small press titles and more money flowing to local schools and libraries…

Exactly. Remember that we used to have a wonderful store full of wooden toys and other high quality things for kids? We used to have a great number of specialized bookstores (we probably still have more than average), local hardware stores, more local natural food stores. In my time here, more and more local stores have died as big chain stores come in, lowering prices initially but starving us of variety as well as local money that stays local.

I am trying to force myself to consider the value of an item, and whether it makes sense that it should be sold locally. If it does, I try to support our local store, at least, as Bookshop suggests, once a month.

Speaking of which: Go on over to the Educational Resource Center and check out the new offerings. It just gets better and better. Now, in addition to a great collection of toys, games, books, videos, curriculum, dress-up clothing, building sets, and art kits, there are classes for kids of all persuasions. Fun (and educational) classes for preschoolers, homeschool classes, and afterschool classes for elementary school kids. This is a resource that makes our community richer, and if we don’t support it, we’ll lose it.

There are some things you just can’t get online.

Posted in Parenting.

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