As the new year approaches, we reflect on many of the things that matter to us. Family is a big one, and though family gatherings may force us to spend time together, the point is to cherish that time with the people closest to us. Expanding the concept of family a bit, did you support your community family in 2017?
It’s easy to get caught up in convenience as we try to simplify our lives, so we may shop online and stay warm at home. But as we at CherryFlex and Underwood Orchards know, being a small northern Michigan-based business, keeping dollars local goes farther and feels better than sending the same money off to other states or even other countries. You may or may not know a local small business owner, but there are many – neighbors, friends and their families working hard to support themselves and loved ones. It’s great being in business for one’s self, but it is never-ending work and worry. Competition is everywhere, and there’s no denying how the internet has changed the business landscape.
Buying from local businesses is to support all the “mom and pop” shops out there- your own friends and neighbors. What are the advantages of buying from local businesses? Many!
To name a few, customer service is often much better than what an anonymous person over the phone can give you. You see the person in an actual store or farm market, sharing and receiving smiles and kind words. If there is a problem, small business owners care to make it right – it’s their reputation and future business on the line. It’s too easy to be disconnected in our tech-heavy world, but as research has proven, connecting with fellow human beings fosters happiness and inclusion.
We’re also incredibly fortunate to have such a resource of healthy local produce grown in our area. Spring, summer and fall bring an abundance of food choices. Fresh is best, and knowing where your food is coming from matters more than ever. Small farmers are committed to their vocation, enduring unpredictable weather and lots of effort to grow and share their goods. Look for local produce in your grocery store and shop farm markets, realizing the longer that food is allowed to grow naturally, the better tasting and healthier it is.
Other ways to support your community family any time of the year include donating to health and human service nonprofits, foundations, a local food pantry or food rescue group, or church. The need is there, so any outgrown clothing, housewares or surplus canned goods are sure to make a difference in someone’s life.
Heading in to a new year, we’re resolving to keep the focus local – supporting our community family in every way we can.
We hope you’ll join us.