Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Remember, You’re a Patron

Recently, it’s come to my attention that despite the economic recovery we’re all supposedly experiencing (*snort!*), several of our local businesses—restaurants, notably—are struggling.

Partly, it’s that it’s summer, no doubt. And there's been plenty of construction work uptown. There have also been several new restaurants opening—chain restaurants. Like that new Kenf*cky Tried Chicken on the Boulevard. Seriously, y’all? It’s a big multinational corporation with a huuge marketing budget, including a corporate-HQ marketing and PR department—the whole shebang. And do multinational fast-food joints really give back to our community, interact with our community, apart from offering, to little-skilled workers, entry-level positions that everyone considers among the first examples of poorly paid, inglorious work?

No. Think of all the wonderful, interesting foods that you’ve never tried, and realize that you’ve had enough of the Colonel’s secret-recipe fried chicken, or Big Macs, or whatever ____ [insert trademark symbol here] to last you the rest of your life.

You vote with your dollars. Or, as a New Agey friend would put it, money is energy.

Which businesses deserve those little boosts of energy, in the form of your purchases, your patronage, your goodwill, and your word-of-mouth?

Our small local independent businesses often have tight budgets. Their success may vary month to month. But often they sponsor our local festivals and fundraisers (look for their names on the backs of tee-shirts, for instance). Often they partner with local nonprofits to host fundraising and visibility events. Often, they are fun and relatively interesting places to have a job.

Often, the owners and employees are our neighbors. . . . And often, they’re trying to figure stuff out using their own resources. They generally don’t have big PR or advertising budgets, much less a human resources department to help the owners negotiate a sea of benefit red tape and other rules and regulations. And when an appliance quits working, they’re on their own to get it fixed before they lose business.

So remember that every time you make a purchase—anywhere, really—you’re basically saying, “I really like your business, and I hope you prosper and can stay here in this town.”

Some of my future posts will be celebrations of some local places I hope you’ll patronize. Spend some shekels there. And spread the word, too. Tell your friends about these and other local businesses and why you like them.

Exercise your power as a patron!

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