Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 25, 2017

Shopping locally builds community

By Jim Turner | Apr 13, 2017

To the editor:

We all know the exhortation to buy local. We see it everywhere. Buy local farm produce. Local products at crafts shows and farmer’s markets. This is all good. But buy local also means buy from your local merchants...not from Amazon.When we are patrons of our local businesses we are helping our community – our friends and neighbors – but also helping ourselves in both direct and indirect ways.

Each time we go to try on a pair of shoes at Brown’s Shoe Store and then buy the pair that fits- right there in the store-instead of going home and buying them on Amazon;we are helping ourselves.

We avoid shipping costs – returns through the mail – and the unfortunate circumstance of having to try to reach customer service by phone, i.e. listen to the prompts, hit one for English, etc.

But it is much more than that. We get to know our friends and neighbors by shopping where they work. And as they get to know us, and we them, relationships are formed that become the basis for our experiencing our community and all the qualities of life that come with it. We are fragmented and polarized by our technology. It removes us from face-to-face interactions with our fellow community members. Electronic communication lacks the richness of human experience that we all long for, which makes our lives more meaningful.

Buying local can mean better roads, better schools, better facilities, and more support for community programs and services. There are limitless ways that buying local can benefit each of us in indirect ways. I am sure our local chamber of commerce could elaborate on many of the points I have made.

Experience is the best teacher. I took my car for a check-up at Fesler’s Auto Mall recently. I left the lot late and found my car had a few issues that needed to be addressed.

“Oh no,” I thought. “This is going to be difficult and complicated.”

I called the service department and from the moment I talked to Bob and the others, I knew there was nothing to worry about. They all went the proverbial “whole nine yards” for me. There were no complications, no difficulties, only very good service. And right here in my hometown.

I want to buy my next car at Fesler’s Auto Mall, and I am sure you can see why but I am truly not trying to promote Felsler’s. I could say the same thing about Bob’s Automotive, Kessels, Smithburg and countless other businesses I have traded with in Fairfield.

It is that moment when we pause to think about how we can best influence the communities we live in that makes the real difference. And loyalty, a much underrated virtue, is a big part of it.

I hope my points are understood in good faith. All technology has wonderful, practical applications. But please, let’s not let it break down our community spirit and our local economies by how we shop with it.

 

– Jim Turner, Fairfield

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