Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

April 10, 2013

Shopping local and CSAs are like money in the bank

I often talk (maybe even rant a bit) about shopping local. It bears repeating because a few folks get confused by the term “local.” Some may think it means going to the nearby big box store on Michigan Road instead of traveling to the one in Carmel. Or eating at the fast food restaurant near Boone Village rather than the drive-through at Anson (or vice-versa depending on where you reside).

Shopping local actually has less to do with location than it does with who owns the business. If there is a local owner in a business or retail store such as clothing shop, restaurant or jeweler’s, toy store, shoe shop or bakery, deli, art, florist or garden center, that store is more likely to serve you and your community better. The same holds true for service businesses, whether it’s accounting or car repair, dentist or barber, salon/spa or veterinarian. If the owner is local, she is usually on site much of the time. Not so for the big box stores, which have only a local manager who may or may not have the same commitment to either the store or the community. You get the idea.

Franchises fall somewhere in between. Many have a dedicated local owner who oversees the business as if it were his own — because it is! These stores feel as if they are part of the community because they are. Some franchises are corporate owned or held by a group that will use managers as their primary local contact.

Zionsville is very fortunate to have a wide range of independent shops and businesses with local on-site owners. We’ve lost a few gems over the years that weren’t replaced with another local version; I recall a wonderful pet shop and a great little market in the village, as well as lumber and hardware stores, a health food store, a grain and feed supply and the pharmacy/drug store. It’s true that stores come and go, and being local isn’t the only reason one should shop there.

Although it’s a mighty big reason.

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.

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