Monthly Archives: November 2014

Why Small Business Saturday Is Important For Your Community

Why Small Business Saturday Is Important For Your Community

November 11, 2014 4:00 AM

“Since 2010, consumers with conscience, flair and an eye for great deals have swarmed their local Mom and Pop shops on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in support of Small Business Saturdays. More a burgeoning movement than a one-day event, Small Business Saturday will take place nationwide this year on November 29. The concept, originally launched by American Express and recognized by the U.S. Senate, has helped change the landscape of big-city neighborhoods and small town U.S.A. If you’re not participating yet, this is why you should.

Help Support A Dream

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Photo Credit Thinkstock

The desire to own and operate one’s own business is the cornerstone of the American dream. Small store ownership helps individuals carve out a living doing what they love. It also allows them to create and sell merchandise that the average consumer would be hard pressed to find in a chain or big box store. If it can be dreamed of, it is probably being sold in a Mom and Pop shop. Vintage fabrics, niche ceramics, collectable comic books and gourmet treats are typical examples, but localbusinesses can range from the boutique to the practical and encompass everything from nuts and bolts hardware, to organic puppy chow.

Local Shops Equal Local Hires

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Many families have found themselves grateful for the jobs and paychecks provided by local shop owners. Parents looking for part-time work close to home, those in need of second jobs, teens hoping to acquire hands-on retail experience and full-time employment opportunities from in-store sales to stocking shelves, all help to support the over-all, financial health of our nation’s infrastructure, keeping both our neighbors and neighborhoods solvent.

Up The Ante On Your Property Value

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Small stores and businesses help revitalize tired city blocks and main streets by generating foot traffic and adding to visual aesthetics. A thriving locale tends to have a spiraling effect, able to increase property value for home owners. These entrepreneurial endeavors also support local school systems in a variety of ways. Sporting goods stores often sponsor school-based sports teams and scout troops, and book stores donate text books to classrooms and sponsor read-a-thons. Local businesses operate as community stake-holders, by contributing to local charities and places of worship and supplying elbow grease for neighborhood walk-a-thons, food and clothing drives and other, locally-driven events.

Put Your Taxes To Work

Photo Credit Thinkstock

Photo Credit Thinkstock

As the holiday season approaches, money will be spent on everything from gift items to home furnishings and food. The money you spend in small Mom and Pop shops help keep your tax dollars confined to the local area, which translates into improvements everyone benefits from. These can range from paving sidewalks to safer playground equipment and better security. The money you spend in local small businesses is a powerful tool, able to help keep entire communities thriving, vital and safe.

Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.”

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The Holidays Are Right Around the Corner!

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The General Store Seattle

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What’s with being a locavore anyway?

What’s with being a locavore anyway?

By Morgan Dolan

We have all heard of vegetarians, vegans, and those who only eat fruit that falls off of a tree. There is always a “why” behind their food choices – indeed, it seems that the decisions we make about our diets are inherently linked to beliefs that we have about food and the world we live in.

So where do so-called locavores fit into all that?

A locavore is typically someone who either exclusively or primarily eats foods from their own local or regional foodshed (traditionally within a 100-150 mile radius of home).

As a movement, locavorism advocates a preference for local products for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Local products travel a much less distance to the consumer, therefore using less fuel and generating less pollution
  • The shorter distribution chains also allow for less product wasted during distribution, storage, and merchandising
  • Local products are fresher, healthier, and use easy-to-recognize ingredients
  • Local products encourage diversification of local agriculture and recirculation of monetary capital within local economies
  • Local products also encourage the consumption of organic, GMO-free, and lab-manufactured chemical-free products

The good news is that you don’t need to “be” a locavore (or “be” anything) to acknowledge the benefits of a locavore lifestyle. You don’t need to give up imported cheese, wine, or start fanatically hunting down the origins of every product or consumable in your household.

To acknowledge the benefits of purchasing food and goods from your region or foodshed means that you think about how, prior to WWII, nearly two out of five Americans lived on farms. Food was much more locally grown and marketed. Rarely was food transported further than a day’s distance. After WWII our infrastructure expanded greatly, transportation costs decreased and refrigeration became more accessible. These changes allowed meats, produce, and other commercial products to be transported greater distances at competitive prices.

To think about how food lands on our tables, in our pantries, or how products come to be in our houses, means that we need to look at where we choose to shop. Recent trends in areas that were once vibrant and productive farmlands show that consumers are more and more often heading to supercenters like Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Meijer’s for shopping. Convenience and low prices are the draw but this trend starves the local demand for local food and products. Products in these big box stores are primarily imported from countries with low production costs – and the current business model specifically strives to keep them low.

You don’t need to “be” a locavore to conscious of where your dollars are going and what you are choosing to pay for. Furthermore you wouldn’t be alone: Nearly 80% of respondents in a 2006 national survey said they occasionally to always purchased fresh produce directly from growers.

This increased demand is creating opportunities for farmers and growers to expand their marketing channels. Local foods are being sold through farmer’s markets, roadside stands, winter markets, food co-ops, CSAs (community supported agricultural groups), supermarkets, specialty stores, restaurants, hospitals, schools, and more. CSAs increased from 60 in 1990 to 1150 in 2007. In a similar period, farmers markets went from 1500 to over 4500.

We at the General Store want you to be yourself. Rather than asking you to “be” a locavore, we would rather you just take a minute to think about where your money goes and what it supports. We are trying to bring more and more people’s daily needs under one roof so that you will be able to shop at one place, to get everything you need, and support the Pacific Northwest at the same time.

Sources:

“The Growing Locavore Movement: A Ripe Opportunity.” 2012. 4 Nov. 2014 <http://geometrx.com/2012/05/the-growing-locavore-movement-a-ripe-opportunity/>

Martinez, Steve. Local food systems; concepts, impacts, and issues. Diane Publishing, 2010.

“Plenty Magazine – Environmental News and Commentary.” 2009. 4 Nov. 2014 <http://www.plentymag.com/blogs/ecoeats/2009/01/some_interesting_locavore_stat_print.php>

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