Shopping In A Small Town


| 12/22/2008 5:39:53 PM


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People always looked surprised when I tell them that I haven’t been in a shopping mall in nearly nine years. It’s not because there aren’t malls around here – I can drive a little more than twenty-five miles in any direction and end up in a mall parking lot (except west; driving west would leave me twenty-five miles offshore, in the icy waters of Lake Michigan). Saving gas and drive-time isn’t the reason I don’t shop the malls either.

A while back, KC Compton wrote a blog titled “On Being A Locavore”; a locavore is a person who eats locally-grown food. I think “locastore” should be a word; someone who shops locally, supporting local businesses and by doing so, helping keep the local economy alive.

I read a “Letter to the Editor” last week in The South Haven Tribune, our small town newspaper. Ester Hansen wrote, “Did you know, local folks, that if you don’t support the merchants, many of them may have to close? Yes, they get a lot of business in the summer from the tourists, but that doesn’t stretch into the winter months. ... We need to keep this town vital and active.

“Before buying gas and driving out of town, look around in the local stores. Did you realize that your local merchants give back to the community? Unlike some of the big box stores, these folks help support many of our local events. They are constantly being asked to give to some cause or activity.”

The letter Ester wrote interested me; I had a conversation with a friend about the same subject earlier in the week. I was able to contact Ester by phone, thanking her for taking the time to write the letter to remind us – especially during the busy Christmas shopping season and a season in which many charities are asking for donations to help make Christmas a bit better for those less fortunate – how important the local merchants are to this community. Ester has been a South Haven resident for decades; I am just a year shy of my first decade here in South Haven. We talked about what a great small town this is to live – everyone is so friendly and generous.

One of those generous people is my friend Chris, who I had talked with earlier about shopping locally, and a person who is tirelessly involved with working with many of the local charities. Chris has always been an advocate for shopping locally. “I know these people,” she says of the merchants. “I shop locally because these are my neighbors. They are taking care of me in so many ways. They take care of our kids ... not only by making sure they are safe on the streets, at the skate park, or the ice-rink; they buy their Boy Scout popcorn, Girl Scout cookies and they are who I turn to for help with preparing food baskets. They deserve our support.”

cindy murphy
1/5/2009 9:39:12 AM

Thanks for the kind words about the story, Michelle. And speaking of small town shopping, I've got some to do today. The woman at Decadent Dogs, our town's pet-supply shop, told me to bring in the pup today to be fitted for a training harness/leash thingy to see how the puppy reacts to it, and do a bit of practice. Apparently, the contraption takes some getting used to, and I think Marquetta is not going to enjoy this small town shopping excursion as much as she normally does.


michelle house
1/4/2009 6:42:33 PM

What a nice story, I so enjoy the way you write. And yes, small town shopping can be nice.


cindy murphy
1/1/2009 12:50:07 PM

Big ol' rosemary scented wrap-around hugs, Quetta. Much love and good karma; less tears, lots of sunshine, and better days in the new year for you, Sis. Luv ya.


quetta
1/1/2009 9:21:27 AM

Wonderful entry, Cindy. I had big ole alligator tears well up in my eyes when I opened my Christmas package from my "sis" in Michigan. Now, catching up on your blog, I find those same tears brimming for a different reason. You're the best and I love you...(and I only use that particular lotion when my heart is needing a big, wrap-around hug--it's my "special" lotion). Same with the incense. I have only burned one stick because I don't ever want to open them and find that it's the last one. "Now" seems like the perfect time to let a friend's love and thoughtfulness soothe a mending heart with the comforting scent of my Rosemary incense.





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