August 31, 2010

Do you buy local? I’m not talking about picking up food at the roadside stand or even a nearby farmers’ market. I’m talking about lumber at the lumberyard, appliances at the appliance store and lawn mowers at the hardware store. 

It hit me the other day when I was short four bolts for a project I was working on. I called Kingsley Mercantile, which is actually two towns and about 14 miles away. They had what I needed. I realized how lucky I am to have three old-fashioned, well-stocked hardware stores within 20 miles of me. Without them, I would have to make a 70-mile roundtrip to the nearest big box store or wait to finish that project.

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We used to have a hardware store just two miles away, but “we” starved it to death. There weren’t enough of us in the immediate area who bought local. My hometown is poorer for the loss. The big box stores may have a bigger selection and even be a little cheaper, but if we starve those hardware stores or lumberyards in our neighboring towns, they’ll die too.

If they do, those towns like mine will be less for the loss. Of course, it’s not enough to buy a few bolts or bags of charcoal local and buy the hammer or grill at the big box store. Like you or your horse, they need a well-rounded diet. It’s why we bought our last lawnmower at Kingsley Mercantile and plan to buy a grill there. I know I pay a premium, but it’s worth it. When I need a few bolts … they’ll be there.

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