Proud_newfoundland_home_tshirt_large

Home town proud??

“If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open.”

When I read a recent blog post by shopkeepers who just recently had to close up shop, it really hit home. It made me think about how we support, or don’t support our own.

I’ve had the opportunity to travel across this beautiful province of ours many times. More often than not, it was on two wheels, as I explored the coasts on my motorcycle and fell in love with every square inch of the Island we call home.

Ready to hit the road

Absolutely frozen

In a more recent life, I’ve been traveling a as an artist, a vendor and a business woman. I’ve set up in arenas, ballrooms, schools and even church basements. I’ve stood inside as the rain poured and pounded against my soft walled tent, I’ve had to hold that same tent down, as the wicked howling winds tried their best to carry my tent and its contents off somewhere into the Mid-Atlantic. I’ve dressed in warm woolen socks and mitts and winter hat, to keep the cold away at these events.

I chatted with thousands of people; NLer’s, CFA’s, tourists, business people, mayors, musicians, and chefs. In my spare/quiet moments, I’ve also been lucky enough to get to know some of the other small business owners who travel with their own products…wonderful people who work very hard trying to make a living selling their wares.

Vendors working hard

There has been one single common denominator in 99% of the these vendors that I speak to and its a very disturbing one to me. During most every conversation these same questions are asked and answered, almost without fail.

“Where are you from?”

Response- Insert a NL community name for the answer. (Just for fun, use your own home town)

“Gee, thats a nice place! I suppose you go back home to set up for—(Insert your hometown festival name)?”

The answer..almost always??

“No bye, its no good for me to set up there, sure nobody at home would buy my product. They would rather give money to a stranger, than to see somebody in their hometown get ahead”

Silence.

Think about that, in this world of buy local, support local, and sustainable communities, us NLers do not, as a rule, support our own. ( Sending out a BIG Thank you to the 1% that already support local!) That’s big…and also not nice.

This was also evident when I worked at a sales lady at a big 3 car dealership in St. John’s. Day after day, we sales folk would watch people from our hometown come into the dealership and ask for a stranger, even though they had a home town boy or girl working there too. Were they being cautious and not wanting people from their own community knowing their business? Did they begrudge the local person the few dollar commission they would make from the sale? Did they trust the stranger more than they trusted the person they had known all their life? Doesn’t even make any sense.

Let’s go back to that quote at the beginning of the blog and look at it again-

“If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open.”

If most of the ” I’m just browsing” people would have spent a dollar it would have made a difference. If the next time YOU are in some small store admiring the gorgeous things they sell and you purchase ONE small item, instead of walking out and saying “I just LOVE your store, you have so many beautiful things in here” then maybe, just maybe you would be helping to support your own. You would be buying local and you would be helping to keep that gallery/small store, vendor stall a viable business for just one more day. It really does make a difference.

FYI, since the gallery (from the quote) has closed and their blog post has become somewhat famous in the ‘support local’ world, there has been a worldwide campaign for JUST A CARD – to encourage people to appreciate just how invaluable every single purchase is.

That’s it for this time, if you have any questions, or comments, I’d love to hear them. If you’re really enjoying the BPA blogging adventures and don’t want to miss out, click ‘follow me’ and your name/email will be added to our growing list of blog subscribers. We’ll email you when a new blog post happens, then you can read them all at your own leisure…..and remember, I’m no expert, I’m just a painter gal with some thoughts to share.

What can YOU do to support local?

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