Posts Tagged ‘locally owned’

Lately I have been stuck on the question of what it really means to be a contributing member of society.  How do you improve a community?  What can an individual do that actually has a big impact, not only today, but in the long term?

As an individual volunteer, volunteering as part of an established program, you have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.  However, a community could not exist on volunteers in volunteer programs alone.  What is the role of business leaders?  What about elected officials?  What about people who save their money, buy a house, have kids, and put a real effort into raising their kids well and paying their bills on time?

Is there one particular role or action that has the potential for great impact?  I am starting to think that the small business owner who fills an actual business need and creates a sustainable operation which pays a living wage and provides health benefits to employees is our winner.  If we had more people like that, we wouldn’t need so many social services programs.

I was listening to a program on NPR the other day about a town in the West that had been booming until the Recession hit.  They mentioned that the Starbucks had closed down in town and nothing had taken its place.  In the same story they mentioned that the fancy locally-owned Italian restaurant in town was now offering $9.99 all you can eat pasta specials.  What I took from that story was that the local restaurateur adapted and did what he/she needed to do to stay in business and continue to operate.  He/She may have had to cut hours or even let a few people go, but they wer still in business.  Starbucks employees on the other hand were out of luck.  Perhaps if there had been more local business owners in the town, there would have been fewer job losses?

What do you think?  Who adds wealth to the community?  What roles or people are important for strong communities?


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