Tonya Bina: ‘Tis the season for shopping locally |

Tonya Bina: ‘Tis the season for shopping locally

Tonya Bina/ Off Beat
Grand County, CO Colorado

I’ve been confused by the Occupy Wall Street movement here in the U.S.

Not that I’m against pulling in the reins of irresponsible trading that can collapse the world’s financial house of cards, but I am perplexed by the actual goals of this movement.

One can picket all one wants, but are CEOs going to tumble out of their golden skyscrapers to surrender profits to the “99 percent” because of a few placards and a sad story?

With that, it’s time to recalibrate.

To truly boost the economy, let’s all really make a difference in the lives of the unemployed, the down-and-out, the disenfranchised; let’s occupy Main Street instead.

Let’s support the service providers and craftspeople with whom we share a community.

Let’s think twice about a feverish consumerism that supports the making of inexpensive products by workers who are treated unfairly abroad, who many times are denied basic human rights, or even may be victims of human trafficking.

Supporting neighborhood businesses can grow the economy.

And by keeping dollars at home, we reinforce the public and private programs that help those community members in need during this sluggish economy.

“It’s about entrepreneurs and families selling things that the chains and e-commerce companies aren’t,” writes Dan Danner, president and CEO of the National Federation of Small Business.

“Only small businesses can offer truly unique gifts and the most genuinely friendly customer service. Small Business is also about supporting the local economy. The chain stores are owned by bigger companies that are probably based somewhere other than your hometown, but small businesses are usually owned by your neighbors. When you shop at a small business, you’re supporting your local economy and your local job base.”

An email circulating on this very topic got the attention of the Grand County commissioners recently. They are now in the planning stages of a “spend local” marketing campaign to try and convince the Grand County public to keep dollars from filtering out of the community.

The persuasive email that highlighted this topic provides refreshing gift ideas ripe in Grand County, like a gift certificate for a hair cut or to get nails done, a membership to a fitness class, an appointment to get the car detailed, a gift of getting the driveway cleared, or golf rounds at the local golf course. There are restaurant gift certificates – from breakfast joints to fine-dining – and there are gift vouchers for cleaning one’s home.

A gift could be as practical as an oil change, or as impulsive as a bouquet of flowers from the town flower shop.

There is the local Temporium taking place in Winter Park, which provides ample opportunity to support local entrepreneurs. Look for other local craft shows, or just visit the retailers that make up your beloved Main Street, such as the book store, the jewelry store, the Western store, the gift boutique, or the winery and brewery. Get a T-shirt or baseball cap from one’s favorite local haunt, or get a season or day pass to a cross-country or downhill venue.

If you start with an open mind, you’re bound to find gifts appropriate for everyone on your list.

Then, if your gift recipients are from out of town, package the gifts and send them by mail to support the local post office, or by a locally-owned store that provides shipping services (there are at least three in Grand County).

I love the warm feeling of Christmas shopping in a small business in my town. My seasonal giving grows two-fold as I support my neighborly business owner just as I pick out something for a loved one. It’s the spirit of the season multiplying and crystalizing as I make the purchase.

And don’t let it stop after the holidays. We can all strive to spend locally for life’s necessities, for birthdays, baby showers, weddings, anniversaries – and let’s not forget, for pampering ourselves.

Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603

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