Friday, February 18, 2011

Living La Vida Local

This weekend, I had to go to the store, and I made the trek to the nearest Basha's.  There used to be one within walking distance (well, not in July), but it was one of the stores that was closed during the bankruptcy.
It just so happens that the intersection where this other Basha's is located is under construction.  And what I mean by "under construction" is "complete and total cluster-rhymes-with-cluck."  It's torn up in all directions to be repaved and (I think) widened - chaos, to say the least.
To get there, I pass a Safeway.  And there is another Safeway not far from the house as well.  But still, I went to Basha's that day.
I have to be honest - I'm not always in love with the store.  It doesn't carry the brand of yogurt I buy for Olivia (I get it at Sprouts, thankfully), and there have been occasions when I wasn't able to find something else that I thought should be fairly common, too.  But I go back there, as I have found the service good and am able to find items that I know I will never find at Sprouts (for canning, etc.).  Call it habit, muscle memory, whatever.
When I checked out, I asked the clerk if the construction had affected the store's business (it's in a strip mall that also has a pretty darn good gyro place, a Peter Piper Pizza, and a PetCo).  She said, "Oh yeah.  A lot.  You have to want to come here."  When I mentioned, almost to myself, that I make the effort, she looked me straight in the eye and said, "We really do appreciate it" with the most sincere gratitude I have ever heard in anyone in sales.
When I got home, I asked Scott, who, having a degree in economics, knows a thing or two more about this than I.  He told me that businesses can lose up to 60% of their business when there is construction.  That amazed me.  I knew that the store traffic was down, but I hadn't imagined that it could drop by such an amount.
While I have been working to buy from more local businesses (I am in awe of the pledge made by the Levitch Family), this information really made me take a good hard think of where I buy my items.  If my choice to bypass two national stores (the Safeways) to go to the local store makes a difference in my community, it will be worth it.  I'm just so glad that PetSmart is a local business!

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