Whether you live in the city, suburbs, or the country, supporting small business is and always has been an absolute necessity.
American Express has rolled out its shop small local initiative for the 10th year. It was first created in the midst of the recession in 2010. The program is dedicated to highlighting small business owners who provide services and products both traditional and out of the box. The campaign is usually promoted heavily on a particular day in November. This year Small Business Saturday falls on November 30th.
You may have seen shop local banners and posts throughout social media as well as posters and signs in the windows of brick and mortar establishments throughout your neighborhood around this time of year. Shop local is the warrior cry so to speak, an appeal to keep your dollars in your community or to show your appreciation for the 40- year family business, or burgeoning entrepreneur looking for a boost in sales or visibility. The last quarter of the year is usually the most important for any business and could mean the difference between staying afloat or folding. We appreciate the efforts from American Express to bring attention to the micro and small business sector, but what does it really mean to shop locally.
The Original Walmart
We grew up in Brooklyn, NY where shopping locally was not a one time shot or the sexy, new-age hippie mission to earn your urban provincial living stripes, it was a way of life. If your mother couldn't get to the grocery store we were sent to a bodega, the original Walmart, an amazing sometimes 500-1000 sq ft bunker of household and dietary needs where you could find milk, bread, cleaning solvents, a ginger beer for an upset stomach, stockings for work, a hero sandwich, or formula for your younger siblings. If you wanted something hot you were sent to a local dive for a tasty meal peas and rice, oxtail, curry chicken roti, but the culinary delights did not stop there. You also had your choice of Southern Soul Food, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Peruvian, Haitian, Dominican, Polish, Russian. Clothes were washed at the local laundromat, a whole day venture where you would sit and either do your homework, bond with your parents, or watch the inner -workings of all the machines while sucking on your favorite piece of candy waiting to dig your hands in the scorching heat of fresh clean clothes from the dryer. You shopped for meat at the local butcher, you shopped for fish at the local fish market. Instacart and Google Express did not exist to stand in the way of true camaraderie. Every local shop and business owner knew your name by heart, they looked out for you, rooted for you, gave you an extra little something when you did well in school.
To shop local was to strengthen communal relationships and to create extended families and to love where you live. The entire world was at our fingertips, all we had to do was was walk to the end of the block. This is why Drunken Fruit® became "Brooklyn Born, Created, and Based. We only hope that with the increasing rent, the shuttering of local businesses around us, and gentrification that the idea of shopping locally will not be diminished to large chain conglomerates and that a new crop of small businesses and entrepreneurs can carry the baton and do its predecessors justice.
"Every local shop and business owner knew your name by heart, they looked out for you, rooted for you, gave you an extra little something when you did well in school."
Small Business Saturday is November 30th 2019. Lets support small business, lets support entrepreneurial spirit, lets shop local now and beyond. Please visit https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/ for more information.