Sunday, December 28, 2008

Buying Local, Installment 1

Today I read in USA Weekend an article called Local & Loving it, One writer's quest to help her community by celebrating birthdays closer to home. The author is Natalie Ermann Russell.

It made me think about how we live.

Michael and I live in Downtown New Bern, we walk to work - Carolina Creations, we walk to the Post Office, we walk to the Galley Stores, Mitchell Hardware, One World Shoppe, Four Cs, Chelsea Restaurant, Captain Ratty's, Nauti Paws, Julliettes, the Pepsi Store, Bear Essentials, Branchs and on on and on.

We walk around Union Point Park and over to the Sheraton, soon to be Hilton, and eat on the deck and look at all the Yachts. It makes me feel like I'm on vacation, and I can do it every day!! How lucky can you get.

I'm digressing here but we LOVE our new house. With all the windows and the view I feel like I'm on a cruise ship. We see all the way down the Neuse River in both directions. I can lay in bed and see sail boats and out another window the steeple of First Baptist church. When I climb the stairs to the second floor the steeple of City Hall is framed in a window. I can see the onion on the top of the Sudan Temple and the Craven County Courthouse steeple.

Now back to the buying local theme!

Natalie said in her article "There are good reasons for buying local. It reduces the need for shipping, which reduces pollution, and it supports the local community. A study we did found that for every $100 spent in a chain store, $14 went back into the local economy. for a locally owned business it was $45."

"Locally owned businesses buy a lot of services from other local businesses. So by buying from one local business, you're not only supporting that business, you're supporting other local businesses."

I know you can't buy everything locally but like Ann Bartz with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies says you should look locally first.

The closest shop to our house is the Galley Stores, they have meat, vegetables (both fresh and frozen - btw the frozen corn is the freshest I've ever tasted) spaghetti sauce, cake mix etc.. Did you know that they buy from restaurant suppliers so much of the frozen items are the same quality you would eat in a restaurant. They have a great selection of beer and wine, bread, milk, cleaning supplies, etc. It is a miniature grocery store and it sells gas as well. How more local can you get - 40 steps from my front door!

At Carolina Creations we sell the paintings I do and the pottery that Michael and I make in our East Front Street pottery. The clay we use comes from North Carolina. I buy my painting supplies at Art and Materials on Middle Street 3 blocks from my home.

Some other New Bern artists whose work we carry are Stan Harmon fused glass panels, pottery by Jim Bisbee and Carolyn Curran, paintings by Ruth Heppler, Rita Fugimagari, T Rader, and regionally we represent Michael Brown furniture, soft sculpture by Suzanne Coatta, paintings by Salay Anger, Mary Page Whitley, Janet Atkins, and on and on. All these artists buy their groceries and clothes locally with dollars they earn creating their products and selling them through our gallery. It's a real boon to our local economy when we can keep our money in town.

I want to thank Mike Foster and NPR for the ads they've been running about shopping locally. And I would also like to thank NPR, the Sun Journal, The Herald, the Greenbrier Gazette and all the other local papers, Arts Alive, New Bern Magazine and WITN for the free coverage they gave to our Downtown events through the Dickens of a Christmas.

I'm calling this post Buy Local, Installment 1, and will write future posts about what you can buy locally in Downtown New Bern!

Ciao, Jan Francoeur

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