Love Project by Gresham Ford

Shopping Local Matters

One day a man was walking along the beach when eh noticed a boy picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked, “Young man, what are you doing?”

“Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up, and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die,” the boy replied.

The man laughed to himself and said, “Do you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make any difference.”

After listening politely, the boy bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the surf. Then, he smiled at the man and said, “I made a difference to that one.”

We have all heard this story and while I can literally give you hundreds of reasons to shop locally – I want to begin with, “It Matters.” When I used Artificial Intelligence, it gave me well thought out paragraphs that extolled the reasons to engage in local retail, but I want you to hear this from my heart, so these words are mine, not Chat GPT.

When you shop locally you often build relationships with not just a business, but a person or persons who own and operate that retail establishment. Recently, I was at a meeting where many in the room had their first employment experience at Glass Butterfly, a local women’s clothing store, now closed. They all remembered how the owner had mentored them and they learned so much more than how to cashier a sale of a dress or jewelry. Supporting local businesses creates these important employment opportunities for not just young people, with entry level jobs but others also.

Just the other day I was in downtown Gresham and if I had not gone into iCandy for some Halloween treats, I would not have known they have the perfect fun socks for my son for Christmas. Likewise, an outing to local bookstore Maggie Mae’s left me with some great Ted Lasso gifts that I BELIEVE will make some smiles on a couple of friends’ faces. I never would have seen or touched these great gifts online. While yes, we can hit a couple of buttons on our iPad and literally have things at our doorstep by the time we wake, rarely does that money circulate in our local economy. As we are entering the Holiday Season, we ask that you take the time to retail local now and throughout the year. Not only is it good for the economy, the environment (yes, it reduces the carbon footprint), but it is fun also. 

At Rockwood Market Hall, there is a small boutique plant and crystal store that will fill any need for a hostess gift for Thanksgiving. While you’re there you can pick up a “to go” package of food for dinner from one of the “around the world vendors,” so not to have to cook the day before a big event (i.e., Thanksgiving). 

Each one of these retail establishments is owned by a “real” person who has made great sacrifices to become a merchant. They pay local business fees and licenses, they pay rent and other utilities to local companies. And when they receive these invoices or bills in the mail, “It Matters” that you have been a customer! In turn you will have made a friend, and friends are priceless! It Matters! 

– Bess Will – Gresham Ford
            “The Dealer With a Heart”