What do you value about your community? What is important to you in the area you live in? Is it that it looks just like every other neighborhood and that you have trouble finding your way home because everything seems the same? Definitely not. It is the uniqueness that makes every neighborhood special. Your favorite bookstore around the corner, the whole wheat organic bakery where you buy the bread for dinner, the local playground or the cozy caf. It's the little things that make your neighborhood the place you chose as your home.

Keep diversity alive

In order to keep this diversity in our communities, we need to take responsibility, whether we like it or not. This diversity is not kept if we choose to only shop at big chains or rather take a trip to Amazonia and other virtual worlds. We have to make the conscious decision where we want our money to go. Think about it for a second. Where would you rather go? A place where you feel welcome, where people smile at you when you walk in, maybe strike up a short friendly conversation. The bookstore around the corner where, when you walk in, the staff member grins in delight. She has just thought about you because she found a book you would love. The butcher has a secret tip on how to get the meat extra tender or he gives you a sample to try the new salami. The caf where you indulge in the incomparable cupcakes. So, a place where they know your name. If not your name then at least your face. A place that you like to go to because, yeah, you feel like a name and not a number. Those are all places that are just a short walk or bike ride away. Those are not anonymous websites or uniform store fronts. Each and every store has an incomparable personality that is made up of the story behind it, the people who work there and the people who go there. The advice you get is priceless although it doesn't cost a penny. Another added benefit is that what you see is what you get. You can make sure the quality of the item you purchase is exactly what you want. If it is not, the shop personal will be happy to assist you to find precisely the perfect thing.

Make your money count

One other benefit, maybe the biggest one, is the taxes local stores contribute go directly into the community you live in. How do you profit from that? The community taxes a store pays are spent in the neighborhood. The money is used to renovate public buildings, create a public library, repair the neighborhood playground, keep a diverse theater program or install an after-school program for school children. In every way possible the money remains in the region where it benefits us the most. That benefit is lost when we shop at chain stores or on the web. The taxes paid there will most likely go to a different city if not to a different country. That money is lost money for the community. It will benefit somebody else. Also, if you like the comfort of on-line shopping, many local stores do provide the opportunity to shop on-line. You just need to check it out. Furthermore, the people in local stores are most likely to pay adequate wages for their employees and provide a safe and healthy work environment. Something that is commonly known not to be true in certain virtual worlds.

Be brave and wander

With all those benefits at your fingertips, think about where you want to go for your next purchase. Do you have to make the trip downtown or can a local store spare you the hassle and be just as good? Maybe even better? Why not try the new coffee shop with your girlfriends instead of going to a chain franchise where you get the same old stuff every day? Go out, explore the shops, cafs, food joints and other exciting places in your community. Find out again why it is, you love your neighborhood so much. Buy local!


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