If you have lived in the same place more than a few years you can probably name off a list of stores and restaurants that have closed their doors.
We are becoming a nation of food, dining and all around shopping “box shop” corporations.
One of the many reasons you find it just about impossible to find anything “made in the USA” anymore?
(If you are like me and actually look)….
Because these box shop are running our world. The only way they buy “made in the USA” is if they can get it in ginormous amounts at HUGE discounts. Hence why China wins out.
I always find it funny when someone tells me their “side of town” is better than another side of town …
There are very few differences in any side of town.
They all have the same corporate run box shops…every side of town looking like a carbon copy of the other.
Strip malls are taking over the world and for every box shop that opens up it feels like there are 5 locally owned shops that are run out of business by them.
You see the stickers… “Buy locally” all over the place now.
Most think the “buy local” theme only extends to farmers market foods but really…it is everything in your community.
For me…it is hands down variety. We are a country that seems to have our eyes shut to the incredible speed with which we are losing “choice” and “variety” in our foods and products.
Go into any box grocery store chain and you will find the exact same handful of produce and fruit.
Do you know just how many great tasting vegetables can actually be grown in this country? Yet these stores show very little of the variety that could be.
It’s always the same looking, bland tasting, where the heck did it actually come from….sorts of produce and fruit.
Walk into a franchised restaurant and you will find the same food at each place. Over and over and over.
Where am I going with this?
If we don’t start supporting our local business owners (of all varieties) we will, for sure, have zero choice on what we purchase in another 5-10 years. They all carry the same things…I love VARIETY in my life.
I love walking down Cary street and talking to my local shop owners…knowing my money is going to an actual person/family.
Not some big corporation or franchise with the same exact crappy food.
I know I may not ever be able to stop this merge over to the US looking like one ginormous box shop but I am not going to just sit by and not say a word…I am totally going out kicking and screaming. Yep…that fits me better.
I WANT LOCAL.
I want to talk with the owner…I want to know that at any given time I know who is growing my food…raising the animals that will go onto our plate. I want to find and buy products that are “made in America”!
This. is. important.
Tonight we took the whole family for our very last meal at Hot Tamale Cafe.
When we moved here, going on 9 years ago, they were one of our first and favorite little local restaurants.
Over the years they grew to know our name and our family.
Tonight as the owner came to our table to say his final farewell it was all I could do to not break out in tears.
He was keeping a good attitude about the whole thing.
Explaining that with the addition to our town of two bigger franchised Mexican restaurants (building right in front of his) they just can’t compete with the big franchises and their shiny lights on our main road.
He said he will go back to computer programming and is looking forward to actually receiving a paycheck again.
He moved on down the isles thanking each and every table for supporting him and his family over the years…
The restaurant that was once their dream.
He said that they had been packed for the last three days.
You will never get that kindof attention or care at a corporate franchise. You just won’t.
I wonder if they had told our community sooner that they were struggling if it would have made a difference?
Would we all have made a point of trying to support them more often?
I don’t know. I just don’t.
Somedays I get so sad when I think about all the store owners I have watched lose their dreams over the years.
All I know is I can only try to keep up my own routines of frequently going to family owned…local stores and supporting them with my bucks whenever I can.
It matters. It really does.