How to Maintain a Thriving Downtown

I love my little town and its downtown. I also love the ease and convenience of online shopping. I hate to see a local store go out of business, but purchase decisions are not always easy…How do we balance the desire for a thriving downtown with our need to shop wisely?

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I WAS EAGER TO BUY this book. The price was $15.25 on Amazon with no shipping and handling charges if I bumped my shopping cart up to $25. But it would take a few days to arrive and I didn’t want to wait.

Next day, we were due to go to the Medical Center in Columbus. I popped into a Barnes & Noble there. They had the book! I could take it home with me! For $26.😦  I don’t think so.

Back home, I went to Amazon to make the $15.25 purchase and saw that for $12.99 I could have the Kindle edition and read the book on either my computer or my phone. Now.

I wasn’t sure I’d like the experience, but… the interest of research and saving $2.26, I opted for the Kindle edition. I downloaded the free reader onto my computer and the free app onto my phone. That very night I started reading the book.

(This post is not about books vs. e-readers. I’m just using my book purchase as an example.)

I was delighted to acquire what I wanted, but would have preferred some of the profit flowed back to local hands. It didn’t.

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IN MY IDEAL WORLD steeped in nostalgia, I would have gone to my local merchant. He would either have the item on hand or be able to get it the next day. The price might be a few dollars above the online price, but I’m willing to pay that in exchange for knowing a local business continues to thrive.

One initiative that satisfies my desire to support our downtown but also be a penny-wise shopper is the 3/50 project, which encourages consumers to make a habit of visiting 3 local small businesses a month and spending a total of $50 (altogether, over the course of a month, anywhere in town). Visit the website and check out the statistics on the impact this has on the local community.

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I was prompted to write this post after reading Charity Singleton’s article “What About the Shop Around the Corner? in Curator Magazine. I love having friends who feed my thoughts.

About Marilyn

Reading, thinking and talking about leadership, writing, ESL for refugees, faith, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. My work has appeared in Moody Magazine, Leadership Journal, Guideposts, Upper Room and many other publications. I lead workshops in personal experience writing and accept speaking engagements as schedule permits. I also listen.
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One Response to How to Maintain a Thriving Downtown

  1. Marilyn — I love this post, and I love this 3/50 project. That is a wonderful, tangible way to live out my commitment to shop locally. I wonder if the Farmer’s Market counts? It’s getting harder and harder to shop local, though there are a few resources that try to highlight the small independent shops. Thanks for linking back to the Curator article and for bringing the idea full circle!


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