Locally Owned and Operated.

I’m still on my quest to Make This A Better AmericaTM by supporting local retailers whenever I can. The retail world has become exceedingly bland with the landscape being populated by Wal*Mart (Always White Trash, Always), McDonalds and their imposters. It’s disconcerting to walk into one of the four Super Wal*Marts in our area and not know which one you’re in. It’s a good thing they put “Thanks for shopping at your (insert city name) Wal*Mart” over the door, otherwise I’d be lost when I left the parking lot.

However, I am finding it difficult to stick to my locally owned and operated policy, especially in the department store arena. Unfortunately, the little guys have been wiped out by the big corporations. I liked the regional chains like Hills, Ames and Bradlees back in their day, but no, the big guys had to come in and wipe them out. When I was a kid, I remember buying school clothes at the local clothing store in the village, then walking down to the shoe store, then walking to the pharmacy to pick up school supplies. When I was really small, we had a soda at the soda fountain and the back of the drug store!

At least we still have a good sized locally owned grocery store that we can shop at. It’s called Chanatry’s and reminds me of grocery stores of about 20 years ago, though it offers the latest and greatest in grocery wares. I’ll support Chanatry’s until the day the doors close, even though the prices are a little higher and the selection is a little less, simply because they’re locally owned and operated.

Ditto with my diner obsession. Granted, we have Denny’s Diner offering their stuff 24 hours a day, but I’d rather eat at the local diner down the road or go hungry. Besides the last time I was at Denny’s (2 years ago), I asked for a piece of bread to go with my meal, and they said they were out of bread but could offer me a piece of toast instead. I didn’t pursue that conversation any further. I was too dumb-founded.

I think my locally owned obsession stems from the fact that my dad’s side of the family has owned a lumber yard and hardware store since the early 1950s. I’m worried for the store. I’m worried that a Lowe’s or Home Depot is going to open up nearby and put them out of business. I’m worried that some snot-nosed 16 year old without a clue as to what an 8-common nail is is going to be offering home improvement advice, instead of my father having that honor.

We need to get back to our roots. We need to know our neighbors. We need to smile at one another.

Let’s get back to the locally owned and operated days.

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