Cleveland’s locally-generated commerce has dwindled in the past two decades. It’s no secret. Everybody talks about it. Everybody sees it.
It’s a nationwide problem plaguing small towns all over the map. It’s not exclusive to the Jordan Valley. There are a lot of contributing factors and the solution is not an easy one, but we need to start working toward one if there’s any hope of change.
First things first: Are you doing your part to curb the damage? We can talk about it all we want, but are you willing to take action?
Gone are the locally-owned Anthony’s and Bayouth’s stores, yes. But there are still many shops where you can buy at least one or two things on your shopping list. You don’t have to turn to the big city or the Internet superhighway for it all.
Just like small businesses lack some things big box stores have, big box stores lack some things small businesses have. And the box stores aren’t all bad, either. They provide jobs, sales tax en masse and they generally give back to the community. We just have to find a happy medium where both can co-exist and be prosperous.
It’s probably not feasible to do all of your shopping with local proprietors. Once upon a time, it was. But let’s not refuse to do the something we can do just because we can’t do everything.
The Mayberry Foundation urges you to look over your shopping list and identify things you can purchase at home.
Stop in Palace Drug or Celebrations for various gift items and greeting cards. Grab a Tiger Pride T-shirt at Dream Skeems or Darlin’ Doodads or something at Mack’s for the house. Pick up a treat for the animals at Walker’s Feed Store.
Stop by locally-owned restaurants for a gift certificate, or just eat supper there over the holidays – a time of year that hurts eateries in small towns since everyone is focused on stuffing themselves with home-cooked goodness.
Get a haircut. Hire a local serviceman. Choose a Cleveland photographer. Stake claim to beef or eggs or honey produced in Pawnee County. Buy from an area artisan – there are plenty to choose from.
The thing is, by shopping at home, you’re not just helping business owners. You’re helping yourself and your own family, too. Because studies show that for every $100 spent at local brick-and-mortar stores, about $70 circulates back into your own community.
An added bonus? The more money that stays home and the more merchants who prosper, the chance for others to feel confident in opening businesses only increases. It’s a scary time for people to sink their life savings into Main Street. Potential business owners need to see that citizens want the trend to change and that they’re willing to take part in the solution by showing their support.
Can you imagine if Cleveland’s business district was back to its glory days? Doesn’t it excite you to think about all those empty storefronts having “open” signs in the windows?
The cold, hard truth is this: It’s up to us to reverse the fortunes and we have no one to blame but ourselves. The first and very important step is to shop locally. Doing so saves businesses. It boosts personal property value. It boosts the school district’s value. It boosts the community’s value.
The power lies within the consumer. Sow the seeds. Make a conscious choice.
Choose Cleveland. Choose home.
The Mayberry Foundation, Inc., is a proud supporter of The 3/50 Project, which is a national initiative encouraging people to shop local businesses.
The 3/50 Project: Identify a few things you’d normally buy at a big box store and buy it at a local business instead. The goal is to take $50 total, and spread between 3 local businesses each month. It’s something that wouldn’t change your life much, but if others join you, it could prop up businesses that are the foundation of commerce in small towns.