Supporting local business matters

Only one in three children are physically active everyday.

Only one in three children are physically active everyday.

Maddy Schilling, Culture Editor

Over the course of the summer, perhaps while you were downtown with your friends catching Pokemon in Houdini Plaza, did you ever stop and just take a minute to look around? If so, you would have seen a town in its most vibrant peak of the year. Art on the Town, the Mile of Music, farmers markets, and summer sales all contributed to giving the Appleton community a breath of fresh air and a good time. Now, can you imagine what the summer would have been like without these little gems? Or to probe you further, what would the rest of the year be like? What would Appleton be like without the support of local businesses?

For one, you could say goodbye to festivals, art walks, and especially farmers markets. A majority of these events are subsidized by local businesses like the Stone Cellar or Blue Moon Emporium. In the case of farmers’ markets, small business owners completely run events for the benefit of other small businesses. But this disappearance of local festivals would never happen, right? Not in A-town.

Except it could. Of course, local business could never disappear entirely, but places just like the city of Appleton have experienced something close, leaving shuttered up holes in the wall beside stores in decline. In fact, the Small Business Administration, a government-supported advocacy group, found that only about half of small businesses survive for more than five years.

So what’s the big deal, right? Why not just shop at Costco or Walmart or Target for everything? It’s incredibly cheaper that way. Well, you certainly could, and many people do, as a lot of the time, it is cheaper giving into big businesses. Unfortunately, that is also what makes your general stores, your Free Market’s, and your Green Gecko’s crumble, along with the vitality of the local economy. According to the SBA, 63% of new private sector jobs are provided by small businesses, so local employment would go down the drain. Then down tumbles the character of your local community and the diversity of goods and services that these places provide, along with their individualized customer service. Go ahead, try buying delicious homemade sandwiches and salads from Walmart and then asking a staff member if they could get you some locally sourced hummus.

Maybe now you’re picturing some sort of post-apocalyptic world fueled by suited fat cats and their mega corporations, stepping on the little guy all because you bought your toilet paper at one of their chain stores. Stop that. Big business is still good for the economy, providing a huge portion of the nation’s jobs and the summer jobs of many Appleton North students. They often even provide local business with the opportunity to outsource their goods to a wider margin of consumers, so they certainly should not be completely neglected. However, neither should Mary Sue’s granary down the street.

It’s all about finding balance. The next time you go out for a Saturday morning grocery run, think about getting your olive oil at the Olive Cellar, your produce at the farmer’s’ market and a quick danish from the Amish bakery. Then, maybe stop by Target for chips and dip and napkins. It’ll surely do you, and your fellow members of the community, some good.