The Daily Advance, May 25, 2013
I’m constantly trying to communicate the importance of our Downtown to our community. Not only is it our “heart” containing our rich history, character and beautiful waterfront, but it’s also an important part in our economic growth. Downtown shows our community’s “personality,” strength and stability.
Stacy Mitchell, in an article, “Locally owned businesses can help communities thrive — and survive climate change,” states that cities where small, locally owned businesses account for a relatively large share of the economy have stronger social networks, more engaged citizens, and better success solving problems.
Mitchell shares research showing a link between a small-scale economy and improved community well-being, including lower rates of crime and better public health. A high degree of local ownership improves the capacity of local residents to act together for mutual benefit, he says.
Mitchell continues, “There is much to be said for the value of doing business with people who know us and whose success is intimately tied to the well-being of the community…. Independent businesses also create environments that foster interaction. Research suggests you are roughly seven times as likely to end up in a conversation with another customer at a farmer’s market or neighborhood bookstore than you are at a big-box store (not to mention the isolating experience of [internet shopping])”.
Downtown Elizabeth City has a variety of local businesses, shops, B&Bs, restaurants, pubs, galleries and more. How often do you visit our downtown independent businesses? Do you support your community by supporting your downtown business owners who are likely your neighbors and friends?
Do you make an effort to put your money back into our local economy where it can also be used to improve your way of life? Are you a “Locavestor” (an investor in your local community’s economy)? We can’t be content to support faceless internet companies and think that’ll help us locally.
What will the next generation say about the way we supported their history and their roots? How are we doing at telling our stories through our downtown preservation and revitalization? Let’s make our downtown economy strong enough to speak loudly to our children, and preserve the foundations of their past to secure their solid economic future.