Before I owned Evelyn's...I was one of those locals who seldom went downtown or thought about whether I was buying from a local business or not. Maybe during Buffalo Days and sometimes if I was looking for a unique gift, I'd venture downtown. But, shamefully, not frequently.
Mostly, I stuck to the Hwy 55 corridor. I knew I could stop in quick at one of the big retailers and get what I needed.
But, now, I'm a shop owner in downtown Buffalo and my perspective has changed. From a business and personal standpoint. In this world of Amazon, Targets, on-line shopping and social media, we've lost the beauty of the small town shopping experience. And, we are missing out on the personal connection associated with living in a small town and working with small business. For those who do spend more time here (or in other areas of Buffalo where local businesses reside), you understand what I'm talking about.
I love owning a small business in Buffalo. People stop in to just chat. I know my customers and they know me. I get to work with other local businesses and use their products and services to better mine. In fact, I know more people now than the previous decade living here. Funny side note: As I was writing this blog, a local business friend walked in to say "hi" and discuss a potential opportunity. So, there you go. I love that.
So, with that type of connection comes a little bit of fear. Fear that a community like this cannot sustain itself in a world of instant gratification, large chains and on-line purchasing. We need to support our local businesses!
If you think about it, when you spend a dollar with a local business or retail shop, a majority of that dollar spent stays in the community. Think about the power of that one dollar. It travels from your wallet to the storekeeper, who then uses it to pay an employee or their landlord who also lives locally. Then, what if they use that money at a local restaurant or brewery, where it may go back into goods bought from a local baker. It continues to circulate, from one small business to another, helping that business community sustain itself. All the while, you actually know the person you are spending this dollar with and they know you.
It’s great to “shop small” the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but, it's more important to do so throughout the year. Buy your next book at Buffalo Books and stop next store at SHE for a bottle of hand lotion. Get that bottle of olive oil at The Abundant Kitchen, or the growler of beer from Hayes Public House. Instead of buying that table from Pottery Barn, visit a local boutique for a table that is one-of-a-kind. If your daughter is looking for a gently used prom dress on FaceBook, send her to Ritzy Replay instead. Buy a cozy sweater at Lillians or a cool pair of boots at Wreath of Franklin. And...stop by Evelyn's for a glass of wine and a flatbread (gluten free from Clover Meadow Bakery) or a mini-cupcake (from Lil' Miss Lulu's Cupcakes). It will mean everything to that small business owner, and it will help sustain our awesome downtown and surrounding area businesses.
Okay... off my soapbox. But, if you're interested in supporting us downtown shops, there is a picture of a map in this blog. You can also stop by Evelyn's for a copy or download here.
I hope to see you soon!