Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Local businesses helped create holiday joys

by Gale Martin, director of marketing and member relations, S. Dale High Center for Family Business

Goods and services from numerous local and family-owned businesses certainly brightened the holiday season for me and my family. Of course, I made an effort to frequent members of the High Center for Family Business as much as I could. I believe in them and what they have to offer. You support them -- you support the health of the regional economy and support their capacity to employee your friends and neighbors and buy good and services in our own community.

Oregon Dairy Supermarket
So after purchasing some novelty items in the Gift Shop at Oregon Dairy--jewelry, Christmas ornaments, housewares, I visited Central Market where I picked up homemade jam, a table runner, a pie, two-dozen cookies, and some linen napkins. Then my husband made a trip to Johnny's Steak House in Reamstown for a gift certificate for his brother and his wife.

We purchased books as gifts at two independent bookstores--Aaron's in Lititz and Wise Owl Books in West Reading.

On Christmas Eve, I stopped in at another member family business of the High Center, Stauffers of Kissel Hill, to pick up my standing rib roast and other trimmings for my holiday meal.

Cafe Chocolate in Lititz
After Christmas I headed back to Central Market for more jam and salsa. Then my daughter and I visited the locally owned and operating Cafe Chocolate in Lititz for lunch (instead of a chain restaurant.)

Did it take longer to frequent all these different places to obtain the things I needed for hoiday gifts and entertaining. Yes, it was not as convenient as shopping at a big one-stop shopping superstore, that's true. It was not as cheap either--though the prices were competitive in many instances, and the quality of the food and items was substantially better.

Did I patronize as many locally owned and operated businesses as I should or could have? I would say there's always room for improvement. But I am happy to report that I am taking more care with each buying decision to more carefully consider where I am spending my money and who will most benefit from the purchase.

If sustainability doesn't start and end with those of us who live and work in this community, than whom do we expect will support these privately held enterprises? How will they survive?

Not to mention that my shopping was more enjoyable, even fun.

How about you? How did you do this holiday season in supporting local businesses? Is it important to you to make the effort?

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