Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shop Local, y'all!

Shop Independent Durham Week, when we celebrate and support our town’s fabulous locally-owned, independent businesses, is coming up November 30th-December 8th. To make sure folks are ready for this momentous occasion, I've put together a little quiz. (Hint: all the questions have the same answer).

--What can you do to strengthen our local economy?
--What can you do to help create new jobs here in Durham?
--What can you do to make sure Durham isn't bland and boring but has real character?
--What can you do to make Durham a place where people vote, participate in community reform efforts, and pay attention to local affairs?

The answer to all these questions? Shop at locally-owned, independent businesses!

When you patronize a locally-owned independent business, 3 to 4 times more of your money stays in our local economy, compared to spending that money at a national chain. And when you shop on-line, you are in effect loading all of your money onto a plane at RDU, with a one-way ticket out of here.

The economic advantage of shopping local is so strong that studies of other cities show that if everyone in Durham shifted just 10% of their purchases to local independent businesses, it would create 800 to 1,000 new jobs in our home town. And as for character? Well we've all seen towns with pretty much just national chain shops and restaurants.  Enough said...about North Raleigh.

And cities that have more locally-owned businesses have higher levels of civic engagement., which just makes sense when you think about it. Local businesses help create a culture of real community.

OK, now that everyone has passed the shop local quiz, its time to move on to the fun part—participating in Shop Independent Durham Week. Shop Independent Durham Week has been put together by Sustain-a-Bull, Durham's locally-owned, independent business organization. During this 8 day week that starts the Saturday after Thanksgiving, dozens of shops and restaurants around town will be having special sales, contests, raffles, and events. See for all the details. The idea is to make it easy and fun to shop local.

At The Regulator we'll be kicking things off on Saturday the 30th with the help of 10 local authors, who have volunteered to be “booksellers for a day.” Working two hour shifts, these local literary luminaries will be recommending books to our customers, for their own reading and for gift giving. See a complete schedule. All through the week we'll be having stacks of our best books on sale, and we'll be raffling off an incredibly beautiful new facsimile edition of John James Audubon’s Birds of America, which sells for $350.00.

To bring the local emphasis of this full circle, we'll also be featuring some of the great new books by local writers and new books about our local area. Marvelous new works of fiction by Wilton Barnhardt, Allan Gurganus and Lee Smith. Jennifer Farley’s fascinating new book on the “Duke Homestead and the American Tobacco Company.” William Ferris’ “The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists,” which includes a CD and a DVD of  interviews of folks like Eudora Welty and Pete Seeger. And Lawrence Earley’s “The Workboats of Core Sound: Stories and Photographs of a Changing World.”
To mention but a few.

So this holiday season give your old hometown a present too. Shop Independent Durham! We thank you.
Tom Campbell

(a version of this article appeared in the Durham News section of the News and Observer today)


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