Monday, March 19, 2012

Support Local

It has been a relatively recent resolution of mine to shop as local as possible for all of my family's needs.  I do my best to support 'Mom & Pop' businesses and local stores as opposed to big chains and mega marts.  It is both not as easy at it seems and easier than it seems.

Shopping local requires a little more leg work until you've established relationships with local businesses and entrepreneurs.  For instance, we recently needed our chimney and wood burner cleaned.  I first tried to get references from local friends and family.  When that fell short I decided to look online.  Since our community is fairly small the list was short.  I made four phone calls.  Three resulted in immediate connection and price quotes.  The fourth call fell to an answering machine.  Something about that fact told me to hold out for a returned call.  I am SO GLAD I waited.  The gentleman that returned my call was friendly, helpful, informative, and cheaper than everyone else I called.  So, not only did I end up with a lifelong business relationship with a local chimney sweep.  I got premium service at a cheaper rate.  Not to mention the fact that he also believes in supporting his customers businesses, so the next time any of his vehicles need a transmission guess who he'll be calling?  Was it worth the extra leg work?  You bet!

With the advances in technology, and easy access to information, creating situations like my search for a local chimney sweep is much easier than it would be otherwise.  On the other hand you do have to have a little bit of research savvy, and some knowledge when it comes to using the internet to network.  It also helps if you are willing to wait and are not in a hurry.

When it comes to supporting our communities, I believe it is well worth learning how to navigate the local networking landscape, make connections, and keep my money close to home.  A sense of community seems to be lacking in our society, and what better way to mend that gap than by creating relationships with local business owners?

In my quest for all things local, I discovered this awesome website:

There are SO MANY resources here.  Searching is very easy, and there are even contests and sweepstakes that offer opportunities to win Michigan products from Michigan based businesses.  How cool is that?  The most recent opportunity is from Just Good Chocolate.  Enter to win a pouch of their hot cocoa and little nibblers variety pack.  YUM!

Another resource that I LOVE is Eat Wild.  It is a WONDERFUL resource for searching out local, naturally farmed animals, produce, dairy, and other wild products.

I hope these resources inspire you to seek out, find, and establish relationships with local businesses, entrepreneurs, and farms.  After all, small business is the backbone of our society.

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