there are a lot of local and regional vendors i still want to tell you about, and a lot of great events coming up, but i've heard from several readers who are getting discouraged because the holidays are quickly upon us, and things are tight all around--and let's face it, whether you do it yourself or buy it from someone else, handmade ain't cheap.
so today i want to share with you some thoughts about what “buy local, buy handmade” can do for you. and it has nothing to do with buying presents.
when you take your car in for service to the local auto shop down the street--you know, the one that is in an old warehouse and was started by the father of the man who runs it now--you're putting your money into the hands of someone who lives where you live, shops where you shop, sends his kids to the same schools you send your kids to. that money ends up helping your neighborhood stay healthy and vibrant and attractive to live in.
the same goes for every little, independent, locally-owned and operated business in your town. the local hair salon, run by the single mother who is raising two smart, funny, well-behaved kids and keeping them on the right track--the local garden center where you get your flowers and bulbs in the spring because they know their stuff and they know your name, and they want to make sure you leave happy and tell all your friends --the woman who cleans your house, the kid that cuts your grass--these people need you, and you need them too.
you need them to buy candy bars and raffle tickets from the PTA at your kid's school. you need them to pay sales taxes in your neighborhood so your town can hire enough fire fighters. you need them to eat at the local diner and to have enough cash to tip the server well for refilling their coffee cups over and over while they monopolize the table for two hours entertaining out-of-town guests.
you need them to keep that money right there, in your neighborhood and community--not send half (or more) of it off to big-box retailer’s expensive corporate offices in east somewhere-you-don't-live.
because the powers-that-be at big-box retailer’s corporate office in east somewhere-you-don't-live don’t care about your kid's PTA, they don’t care about your fire department, they don’t care about that waitress who is saving every dime so she can start her own sewing and alteration business down the street.
they don't know your name and they don't give half a flip whether or not your neighborhood is clean or safe or whether there are still even any jobs there. they don't care.
but your local merchants and service provides do. they want to build a relationship with you, and you need to build these relationships, because these people are raising your children's’ peers, they are making decisions about your town’s development, and they will show up at your doorstep with a meal or a tool box when your whole town is under 8 feet of water.
so stop feeling bad about whether you make all your christmas presents, or whether you are cleaning your own home, or which percentage group you belong to. YOU have the power to be a job creator, right where you are, and YOU can do this all year long.
*later today i'll start slinging more nashville/middle TN vendors, crafters, and arts events your way! i also have a surprise announcement coming tomorrow. :)