A link to this article was in my email today and since it mentioned the name of the town that I most recently lived in before moving to Rochester, I couldn’t help but read it.
Northfield is an interesting community and when I lived there, I had the joy of working downtown which meant that I tended to shop locally more often than making it to the outskirts of town to pick up various items.
The gist of the article is that Northfield’s downtown is feeling the crunch these days of the economy and a group of elementary students have launched their own “shop local” campaign to drive business to the downtown.
But if you take a quick look at the comments that accompany the article, one of the writers has a pretty apt comment – one of the stores that recently closed in Nfld’s downtown was a waffle shop that served $12 waffles. This begs the point: Is shopping local the frugal thing to do?
Shopping local was easier when I lived in Northfield – I worked in the downtown, I frequented downtown shops and restaurants. Shopping local wasn’t the frugal choice, but I was single, lived in a cheap apartment and had a decent salary … And since I was a “public figure” and the newspaper I worked for lived and died with local advertising – shopping local was the thing to do.
Rochester is a bit tougher – especially when I have Super Targets near both jobs, a handful of Hyvees to choose from (although they are employee owned) and since parking is a HUGE hassle in downtown Rochester anytime before 6 p.m. on a weekday – the community idealist that once was is more interested in going somewhere with decent parking and isn’t too far from home.
I don’t know … the biggest argument I can make for shopping local is that many times you’re picking quality over quantity. If I spend $80 on a sweater from the Nordic store in Rochester’s Galleria mall, it’s probably going to last longer than something that I pick up from Walmart, Target or any store in the mall.
Does anyone have a good answer? How do you balance being frugal with supporting your local businesses?
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