We live in a small town. It's a beautiful little treasure right in the heart of the Pennsylvania wilds. We have so much to offer. People come from all over to hike, fish,camp, see the elk herds. Fall in Emporium is amazing. The leaves are brilliant and the mountains are endless. The trails for hiking are limitless. The roads are windy and the motorcyclists are plenty. I'll sum it up... it's that place where every body knows your name. It's pretty much Cheers. In a little town.
There is a downfall to a small town. Shopping. It's not always easy to find what you need or get it at the "best" price. I would like to hope that people will soon start to realize the importance of shopping local though. It's so crucial to our local economy to keep the money in our town. Now I'm not just talking about Emporium, I'm talking about any small town. Any small business actually.
Before you think it's impossible though, you just have to do some digging around. It's doable. Maybe you just need to change your way of thinking. I know for me I had to just look around. I had to quit being so PICKY!!! The more I started shopping locally, the more I started finding.
Once I got over myself and started being more practical.. the grocery store had more to offer.. yes THE.. one and only grocery store.. (and the produce girl! She's the bomb!) I was able to find almost all of our plant based staples. I noticed myself getting excited when new products were coming in. I enjoy seeing the cashiers, who all know my name. Now, don't get me wrong. I still do go out of town to get some things sometime. A day trip to State College will almost always have a stop and Trader Joe's and Wegmans. That's not for the every day though. For sure.. We live in rural PA, I'm talking and hour and a half trip!
There is an amazing artisan center in the middle of Emporium. It's filled with local artists products from the surrounding areas. It's easy to go in and pick up something unique. A few of our friends also have little home businesses that also have the coolest things to give for gifts. You can find them on facebook @ Rich Valley Apiary and Black Dog Work Shoppe. Just keep your eyes open. Where ever you live I think you would be able to find small gifts in any town.
There are plenty of places to eat in Emporium. Obviously with our restaurant being one of them. We all eat at each others places though. The owners of the restaurant down the road came into our place for their anniversary dinner this afternoon. Sometimes you just need a change. We ordered from the pizza place tonight. They are great about keeping our plant based lifestyle even with pizza. Tonight we got veggie strombolis without cheese. YUM! To be honest I don't think that we feel the pressure of shopping local as a restaurant as some of the other businesses. People have to eat, and people enjoy eating out. Which is a huge blessing for us. It has also opened out eyes to the importance of shopping local though. A lot of the other business owners come in to support us, so we should return the favor.
I could go on. For a long time. But i'll keep it brief.
There are so many other services our town has to offer. We get our hair cut in town, our cars serviced in town, our insurances in town, our fixer up project supplies at one of our local hardware stores. Ect..ect.. The people are there. Seek them out. Give them another chance, I assure you they are trying their best. They are all trying to support themselves.
I understand that it's so so easy to go to a big store, like Walmart. But who's it benefiting? Some big corporate CEO. Not a family trying to raise their kids. I know everyone has a favorite place to shop. I'm not trying to say we "always " 100% of the time shop local. I'd be lying. I'm just asking that you give it a second thought. Just think about keeping your money in your town. Think of it as an investment in the future.
I love our little town. There are so many people working so hard to keep it alive and thriving. We have some great committees in place to work on keeping it beautiful. We also have a very active chamber of commerce always working on bringing in tourism, and planning events for people to enjoy. I feel though that shopping local is one of the best ways to keep the town going. Keep on digging. I'm sure you can find what you need!
Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
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