All of us know that July is the time to celebrate our independence. It’s also the time for BBQs, weekends at the shore, and long summer nights. But, did you know that July is also national independent retailers month? Celebrate by shopping at your local, independently owned boutiques, food stores (that’s us!), and service providers.
There is no doubt that we stress shopping indie as much as possible, but some of you may still be asking, “Why?” Judy Wicks, owner of the White Dog Café and sustainability pioneer, explains this well in her new book Good Morning Beautiful Business.
“Human-scale businesses foster close and meaningful relationships, but when companies grow too big to be purchased by a new owner within the community – employees, a family member, or a local entrepreneur – they are most likely bought up by a distant corporations. Then profits are drained from the community; local procurement of supplies and services typically decreases, as do contributions to local charities; and if the company is moved out of town, jobs and local tax payments are lost – ultimately decreasing community wealth and weakening the local economy.”
In regards to food, Wicks states,
“Today most Americans no longer know who grows our food or produces out other basic needs. We’ve become disconnected – separated – from each other, from the land, from our own places. The butcher, the baker, the tailor – these were the relationships that once provided the foundations for strong and enjoyable community life.”
Knowledge of food is especially absent in the minds of children. According to Dairy Farmers of Britain, 11% of 8 year olds don’t know where pork chops, yogurt, and cheese come from.
To explain the importance of shopping indie even further, Wicks writes,
“Perhaps the most threatening issue being overlooked, though, is the concentration of ownership. Clearly, real wealth creation comes from ownership, not simply jobs, so economic justice can be achieved only when businesses ownership is spread broadly rather than concentrated. Decentralizing our food systems, our energy systems, and the manufacturing of other basic needs creates more local ownership opportunities, as well as jobs. Importantly, decentralization increases community, self-reliance, and resilience.”
This is the core of what all co-ops are trying to do. We want to decentralize the power and give it to you, the community members. We want you to have the power to make decisions and we want your money to stay in your community.