2017-11-16 / Around Town

The Importance of Shopping Local

Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25 Shop Small • Shop Local • Shop Independent
By Amy Martin


Harold Graves opened his men’s and active wear store, Freeman & Graves on Aquidneck Ave. in Middletown in 2012, and his son Dan joined him a year later. Graves Sr. touts the advantage of shopping local, “Our prices match or are better than Amazon, and you can try on what you select and walk out with it.” Harold Graves opened his men’s and active wear store, Freeman & Graves on Aquidneck Ave. in Middletown in 2012, and his son Dan joined him a year later. Graves Sr. touts the advantage of shopping local, “Our prices match or are better than Amazon, and you can try on what you select and walk out with it.” Online shopping is often convenient; pajama shopping, I call it. But as comfortable as pajamas are, it’s important to understand that shopping local is necessary not only for our community merchants, but for our well-being too.

Shopping local is vital to the survival of our local business owners who are scrapping every day in the online retail-shopping world that has become standard in our culture. Residents and local merchants possess a symbiotic relationship where each is vital to the longevity and vitality of the other. The emphasis is usually on residents supporting businesses, but let’s analyze how these shops are integral in helping us maintain our happiness, convenience and sense of community.


Karol Richardson, whose store is eponymously named, designed clothing in several cities after she attended The London College of Fashion. She wholesaled her own line in the 1970s-1980s, and she opened her Wellfleet store in 1990. Her daughter, Natasha, came on board and they opened the Newport store together in 1997. Karol Richardson, whose store is eponymously named, designed clothing in several cities after she attended The London College of Fashion. She wholesaled her own line in the 1970s-1980s, and she opened her Wellfleet store in 1990. Her daughter, Natasha, came on board and they opened the Newport store together in 1997. In order to offset the technological bubble lifestyles that drive us into a disconnected human world, shopping local is more important than ever. With the accessibility of online shopping for everything from food to clothes to books, we can exist for extended periods of time without interacting beyond our everyday rote responsibilities, including work and children.

Shopping local keeps us relevant in our own communities. How many times have you run into someone you knew while you were out running errands in town or had a complete stranger assist you unexpectedly? Feel-good moments ensue, manners are used, friends are made, examples are set and kindness abounds all due to shopping local, which facilitates our face-to-face connection with others. And it’s something that is more and more necessary in this day and age.

Our communities would become ghost towns if local shops didn’t exist. The term conjures images of abandon buildings with dilapidated signage and tumbleweeds rolling across abandoned streets. We see these illustrations mainly in old western movies, but examples of these forgotten towns exist in our modern society too, and some even in our beautiful state.

Abandoned shops and storefronts in these towns are often the only remnants of a once flourishing burg where merchants thrived and residents lived. We have all driven through them and are inevitably left with a haunting sense of the vigor that once existed, but was replaced with an ominous and unsupported end.

I have been bailed out in the 11th hour many times, but never by Amazon or any other online retailer. Despite my adoration for Amazon Prime and free two-day shipping, I have never picked up a gift from Amazon that I neglected to purchase on my way to an event. I have never had a large retail chain tell me that they would drop off the items to my house on their way home because I did not have time to pick up the item. I have never had an online retailer tell me I could come back and pay them the following day because I forgot my wallet. Nor has an online retailer ever offered me an encouraging word, complimented me, or let me know that they were happy to see me. Local merchants have done all of these for me and much more.

Small Business Saturday or Shop Local Saturday, as it is also known, is on Saturday Nov. 25, but the support must continue for the remaining 364 days of the year. The benefit of knowing your local shops and supporting them is that they know and will also support you.

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