Small Business Saturday All Year, Every Day
Fame may be a fickle food, as Emily Dickinson pointed out, but on late January’s dark, icy, post-holiday table, local retail is the dish served cold. While the joy of the purchase never quite fades for most of us, the bustle and enthusiasm of holiday shopping is last year’s news. Sure, supporting local businesses builds diversity and strengthens our economic communities, but Amazon delivers, like, yesterday.
Here’s the thing, though. Shopping local isn’t some heroic act. It isn’t a noble sacrifice. Like the bumper sticker implies, local is a habit you cultivate. As you would cultivate a skill, such as making great skincare products from goats’ milk, a la Bend Soap Co. Those beautiful products are all over Bend, OR, meaning you don’t even have to look very hard or long. You simply have to recognize the local brands on the shelf.
Local Brands Kick A**
Yes, they do. Because they’ve got pure soul, and usually a fantastic story, embedded into them:
- The kombucha invented in the basement.
- The farmers’ market that grew from the back of a truck.
- The Paleo bar born from a woman’s need to feed her kids food they could eat.
- The radical road to paraben-free feminine hygiene.
- All (well, most of) the beer stories.
Community Building Is No Gimmick
Prosperity, in a holistic sense, requires some diligence—it’s hands-on work. Here in breathtaking Bend, OR, we’ve got a place called The Workhouse. It is not full of children in rags working scary industrial machines in indentured servitude. Just the opposite: it is full of robust artists and artisans making amazing art and wearables and usables, in plain sight, where you can say hello, shake their hand, and ask about sustainable practice. An enormous wood table runs up the center of the building. It is stage and hub for learning, doing, celebration.
Around the aforementioned holidays, The Workhouse teamed up with the non-profit Locavore, an indoor farmers market dedicated to local food, farms, and education. The Workhouse and Locavore shared a shuttle service with Willow Lane Winter Market, to ferry holiday shoppers between locales. The event was a raging success. And guess what? They’re all open for business now, too, making and growing and selling the things you and I need everyday.
It’s a big, beautiful world out there. No one on this blog is going to point a celestial finger in your face and dictate what you oughta do and where. If you make a resolution to shop local, does that mean you cannot purchase the handmade silk slouch pants from the NYC-based clothing company that supports gender equality and empowerment for women? Or buy a Subaru? Of course not.
But often the thing you want and need is already close at hand, made by the hands of your neighbor, whose story helps create the fabric of the strong, prosperous community we all want to call home.
At RePresent, we want to know where you’re coming from. Let’s tell your homegrown story like it oughta get told.