Getting more for your money in a 'Shutdown'

How's your summer going?

Hopefully you've been able to get out and enjoy the sunshine, and maybe you've even been able to start going to parks, farmers markets, or patios. We recently ate our first meal out at a restaurant in a very long time. Partly because they've been closed, partly because we've been budgeting, and partly because we just like cooking! But we enjoyed ourselves. We followed up dinner by visiting the local theatre to watch a rerun of the original 'Back to the Future'. The restaurant, while seemingly busy, was operating with maybe 25% of their seating space. The theatre probably only had 4 or 5 other people in it, and even if it had been busier the maximum capacity is now 50 in a room that would have seated hundreds. I couldn't help but think at both dinner and the movie that if money was being made here it certainly wasn't much. As things are reopening it's beginning to show how many businesses have been forced to close their doors. Those that are now able to open are hanging on by a thread, probably taking losses in the hopes of improvement later. Restaurants, theatres, gyms, yoga studios, hardware stores, retail stores, libraries, coffee shops, farmers markets, volunteer organizations, food banks, and local legions. Many are in a hard place. It's more important than ever to support locally. And I don't just mean this from a charitable perspective that local businesses need our help. These businesses also are some of the main contributors to their own communities - providing goods and services, employment, facilities, and much more. Strong communities can't survive without them either. Successful businesses are hard to start, so don't let them slip away. Last year I wrote a newsletter on the power of spending locally, and you can read about the 'magic loonie' here (all our newsletters are archived on our website!). Basically it boils down to this. If you spend with a local business, you're not just getting (likely) better quality goods and services. And you're not just supporting that business alone, because that business has expenses and often spends those dollars locally at other businesses as well. Even more, if it's a small business, the owner's take-home pay is probably being spent the same way. You've probably seen social media posts before to the effect of 'when you buy local you aren't helping a millionaire buy a 3rd home, you're paying for a little girl's dance lessons'. And that's true. But it's so much more than that. Maybe buying your bread at the bakery was a little bit more expensive. But not only was it better, you paid for a little girl's dance lessons.You employed a dance teacher. You bought a dance teacher's vegetables at a local farmers market. You bought those farmers' coffee at a local coffee shop. You paid for the meeting space the coffee shop offers a volunteer organization. It goes on and on and on, all because you paid an extra dollar for delicious bread. Pretty magical, no? Local businesses are often at least slightly more expensive because they don't have the scale and operating efficiency of large businesses. But isn't turning 1 local dollar into 5, 10 or 15 local dollars pretty damned efficient? That's how you get more for your money. Willie & Jorie

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