In the wake of disasters and deaths that effect our community, who responds? It is again a reminder after the toll that Tropical Storm Irene has taken on Vermont, that the small businesses in our area are the backbone of our hamlets. Bake sales and food drives, small loans and helping hands come quickly from these locally owned enterprises.
It is these same businesses that support the needs of our communities. When the economy falters, as it has done in the last year, the local business owners look beyond the bottom line, staying put in the community while keeping staff on the books. These owners and operators are the same people that coach our kids’ games, sit on the school board, and fill boxes for the food cupboard. These hard working folks are invested in our community like no others.
So why do we forget about them when national chain stores are proposed in town? And who would really be the winners? We not only would lose the character of our community in the mountains, we would lose the very people who ‘Grow a Row’ for the hungry, teach after-school programs, help with the neighbors’ flooded road, console the family who just lost a loved one.
Instead of enticing large, out of town businesses to come and set up shop, we need to develop our unique small business infrastructure even more. We need to buy locally. By doing so, we can voice our opinions about what we want our town to look like. Did you know that by buying from a locally owned business, $68 of every $100 spent stays in the community in the form of taxes, payroll and other expenditures? The same $100 spent at a national chain keeps only $43 in the community and if you buy online, nothing comes home.
For the long term health and sustainability of our community, we urge all citizens to really see what we have before it’s too late. Let’s support our neighbors, strengthen our local economy and enhance our social and economic connections within our community. The future of the Northshire is in all of our hands. Each one of us can make a difference.
Here are several websites to check out for more information:
The 3/50 Project: http://www.the350project.net/
Local First Vermont: http://vbsr.org/index.php/
Here’s to a vibrant and unique community,
Scout Proft and Renee Bornstein