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City Manager's Blog

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Nov 01

Shopping Local

Posted on November 1, 2019 at 11:17 AM by June Lemos

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CITY MANAGER'S BLOG 
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November 1, 2019
Shopping Local
While writing the staff report on whether Fort Bragg should regulate formula/chain stores, I read an article that proclaimed loss of foot traffic as the biggest threat to independent businesses - not formula businesses. Loss of foot traffic is blamed on online retailers. The theory was that buyers visit stores, malls and shopping districts less frequently and that formula businesses actually attract shoppers to shopping centers where they stop at or are lured into independent businesses next door or nearby. 
I am not asserting that formula stores are the answer but the article made me think about my changing spending habits. In my twenties and thirties, I worked in pedestrian friendly downtowns and loved shopping at lunch or on the way home or to the transit stop. Most of my wardrobe from shoes to coats came from my lunch time or after work outings. In fact, most of my shopping took place on these walks. Obviously, I work downtown now but I realize that I don’t pop out at lunch very often to look and buy. I admit these days, I am more likely to surf the internet after work at home for my purchases.
I have heard from a good number of merchants how financially challenging this year has been. Councilmember Morsell-Haye recently closed her shop. As a community, we talk a lot about tourists and getting people here but locals are part of local business vitality. Shopping local supports our community, especially the independent local businesses. It puts money in the pockets of our neighbors, friends and families, which they in turn spend here in our community, supporting other local businesses and so on. It supports our local, county and state governments through sales taxes. While no one loves paying taxes, I would rather support my local government rather than another community or state government.  
Yes, my salary is supported by those local taxes, and so are the other City employees. Like me, they live locally and hopefully spend much of that salary here supporting their favorite local businesses. Not everything can be purchased locally, but I am making that effort to think about where I spend my money and what happens to it when it leaves my hands. 
The tenth annual Small Business Saturday is November 30, 2019, but I encourage all of us to treat most days as small or local business day.
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