I was reminded the other day that today, Saturday, Nov. 28, is Small Business Saturday. I’m told it originated in 2010 to encourage people to support small, local businesses.
I don’t do a lot of shopping. Black Friday! Forget it. I’m not getting out there and fighting the traffic, standing in line in some major retailer to “save” money on electronics that have been marked up (if you believe some media reports) for the sake of putting major retailers “in the black” for the year.
I had to be reminded that today is Small Business Saturday because everyday is small business day for me. I’m all about convenience and what could be more convenient than walking (or driving) up the street in my fair city to buy just about anything I need.
Contrary to popular belief, I can get many things I need by shopping in East Ridge, not at a place that is “Big Business,” but from some guy (or gal) that has invested just about everything they own in pursuing their American Dream.
Clothes on my back? Easy, I’ve found that Second Chance, the new local resale shop that benefits The Humane Society, had become the east coast distributor for Brooks Brothers shirts. All of them just happened to be my size. I bought ’em up for five bucks each. Five bucks for what I consider the highest quality shirt on the planet. While I’m there, I can buy dog food for the hound and pick up a trinket for the bride.
Food in my stomach? Linda’s Produce, of course. Linda’s location may not be the best. But, By George, it’s about as local as it comes. If I need meat for the table, well, there used to be a butcher shop next door. Sadly, it went out of business. Couldn’t understand that at all. What could have been a better business plan than to have beef, poultry and fish next to a thriving market for fresh vegetables?
The obvious answer is that nobody shopped there, besides me. Gone. Now I have to get goods to satisfy my carnivorous side from Food Lion … or my neighbor Gary down the street, who provides me with venison. Of course, Food Lion is big business, but the service there is from local folks (Joyce, Jennifer, Jay, Jessica, Karen, Jack) who darn well appreciate me shopping “local” with them.
A roof over my head? Jake at East Ridge Hardware does the trick. If something breaks in the house, Jake can fix you up. You can also pick up a Yeti cooler if you got the coin.
If my car or boat has a problem, who do I turn to? The folks at White and Peels can’t be beat. Took me a while to find them, but they are the most competent and trustworthy guys with a wrench in the world. Jerald White, the son of former Mayor G.W. White, will shop out a part for the best deal. If he tells you your car is going to be fixed at 3 p.m., it’s fixed at 3 p.m., period! It’s fixed right, too.
His son, Jerald II, knows more about boats than Noah. If it’s broke, he can fix it. If he can’t fix it James Peels can. Jerald Got his work ethic from his daddy, apparently, and also his honesty. Good Folks, and they are right around the corner.
If my wheels’ vital fluids are dirty, I don’t trust anyone more than Lon and his crew at East Ridge Fast Lube. I know the Grants own it, but Lon and George are as solid as they come. After the oil is changed I just wheel it over to the Grant’s car wash and have his guys clean up the exterior (and interior). The X5 drives so much better after it’s been washed. And, it’s just so darned convenient to get it done down the street at a Local place than it is going across town somewhere.
Books. Who can live without reading books? The Book Company on Ringgold Road near the tunnels is your spot. The folks in this store are exactly what one would imagine book store employees are … literate, conversant and helpful. I once had the spine of an old family Bible rebound there, for goodness sake. Looking for a good read at the right price? Go see them. There is no additional charge for the wonderful smell of old books which permeates the building.
If I need dip and cold beer, Desha (not sure I’m spelling her name correctly) at Beer and Tobacco Mart is my go-to source. She and her family are from India, but I guarantee you there’s nobody that has assimilated into our community better than Desha and her bunch. It’s all about attitude, and it never fails that each and every customer that darkens the door is treated like a prince in the store.
Need to get your prescription filled, do you? One word … Kingwood Pharmacy. Oh, and Sarah and Steph can fix you up with beautiful gifts for any season. The place gives “one-stop shopping” a new meaning. Picked up some tasteful Christmas gifts for my Doctor buddy and his wife there just the other day. Also scored some pseudoephedrine for the allergy while I was getting the hand-made ornament for the tree.
The Seth Thomas mantle clock went on the fritz a while back. I took it to Steve at Scott’s Clock shop. That reminds me, the grandfather clock in the dining room is froze up. Steve does house calls, too.
Whenever the dog does dirty too many times on the rugs, I turn to Tom at Tom’s Carpets. How is it that East Ridge merchants have such great staff? The guys at Tom’s (The Chief, Cameron) know their stuff and they will chew the fat with you while you try and figure out that perfect color and knot count on the oriental rug that Spot has soiled.
I’ve got this thing for watches … you know, wrist watches. Must have eight of them. When the battery goes dead I take it Diamond Tower and Byron Brooks. Byron will fix it, and he’s up on Ringgold Road in the Osborne Shopping Center. He’s always talking about ways to attract more business and bemoaning the fact that when people do find his store they are amazed that East Ridge has its own jewelry store. Wow! Imagine that.
I also got the bride a beautiful little gemstone ring there for her birthday last year. If he doesn’t have it, Byron can order it for you.
Here’s the beautiful thing about shopping at local small businesses: The sales tax added on to your purchase goes into the City of East Ridge’s bank account. That money _ at least some of it _ is used by our local government to provide services to its citizens. You know, the local tax dollars pays our firefighters and police officers to keep us safe and George the garbage truck driver to pick up our refuse.
These are just a few examples of the small, local businesses that _ as my grandfather was fond of saying _ I “trade with” in East Ridge. There are dozens more. Show a little love for them today and go do some “trading.” For that matter, make it a habit to patronize your small, local businesses throughout the year.
I’m going to go ahead and say it, “It’s a win, win” situation.