Thinking Locally, I Met A Bunch of Like-Minded Business Owners I'm just back from an important meeting, that brought dozens of local business owners together in one room to talk local. It was a membership meeting for Pioneer Valley Local First, an organization of volunteers that seeks to promote buying locally, and getting the public to think about where the money goes. It's one of 60 networks across North America aimed at this goal.
It began with a social time, and as often happens when I am out and about I ran into many old friends from various businesses I've worked for. Dave Sokol, my boss in the '80s when I worked in paste-up for the Valley Advocate, a gaggle of Gazette advertising folks, and Dave Caputo, with whom I work now on website projects and who is a regular at our HT get togethers.
After the pleasantries, it was time for business. A man introduced another man who works on a national level for BALLE, or Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, who will be helping organize our local chapter in the valley. This lead to more speakers, who all had the same point--we've gotta preserve and support our local businesses if we want to compete against the monoliths and big boxes who take local money and send it out of state.
People spoke up about their concerns, I posed the question to the panel, 'What's in this for us?' I realized that it always comes down to this in any membership group and their answers were good. They said that if we wanted to continue to have farms and fields, we had to purchase and support local agriculture. If we wanted to continue to have the option to shop in a locally-owned bookstore, we'd have to support it. And if we wanted to attract local people into our shops and businesses, the best thing to do is to band together with our neighbors and market us all together. SOLD!
I'm joining the group, putting down my $100 and supporting them as best I can. I look forward to being included in the guide to buying local that they are printing, and most of all, I am proud to be living in an area like the Pioneer Valley where things like this really do matter.
- Post by Max Hartshorne
- Location: South Deerfield, Massachusetts, United States
I am the editor of GoNOMAD.com the travel website. And I am the owner of the GoNOMAD Cafe, a traveler's cafe in South Deerfield MA.