If you’re looking for ways to help out your neighbor in these tough economic times, consider following the advice of a South Carolina preacher, modified by a Tucson blogger of middling talent: Eat Goody’s Fried Fish…and then have Carvel ice cream for dessert.
My last My Tucson column for the hardcopy Tucson Citizen was about Carvel’s only ice cream store. Carvel, an ice cream institution in the New York metro area, might soon disappear from its only outpost in the Old Pueblo, on Silverbell and Speedway. During my last visit, the owner sadly said that poor sales might force her to sell the business.
That reminded me of advice I received a long time ago, late one evening in South Carolina, about the importance of seeking out and patronizing local entrepreneurs.
My last duty station in the Army was Savannah. Occasionally I drove to North Carolina for meetings at Fort Bragg, headquarters of the XVIII Airborne Corps.
One night, as I drove down Interstate 95, through the South Carolina pines en route home to Georgia, I dialed my radio looking for something interesting. The static cleared, and I found myself listening to Palmetto State Public Radio. On the radio, a minister was giving some opinions on how to help strengthen the local economy.
His prescription: Eat at Goody’s Fried Fish.
Apparently, Goody’s Fried Fish was one of the best restaurants near his church. The minister explained that, if locals bought meals at Goody’s, “Goody” could hire more people, purchase more seafood from local fishermen, perhaps expand his business…and the whole community would benefit.
The minister reminded his audio flock that local entrepreneurs had taken big financial risks and sacrificed much of their personal time to establish and run these businesses. Those businesses added spice and life to their communities. Without them…
Imagine small South Carolina towns with no Goody’s. Or Tucson without its one Carvel, or the many, many other small restaurants, antique shops, craft stores, funky clothiers, quirky bookstores, etc…
No doubt, most of our town’s restaurants and stores with nationally-known names are actually franchises, run by hard-working Tucsonans. They’re having tough times, too.
But, in my middling mind at least, there’s something extra special about having a Goody’s down the street from your church. Or an honest-to-goodness Carvel! an hour from Mexico.
So, the next time you have some disposable cash and an urge to spend it, consider looking closely around your community.
Is there a restaurant nearby that you like having nearby? I.e., a place close enough to your home that you can have an evening out—or a tasty but quick meal—without having to drive halfway across town? A family-owned garage whose mechanics treat you more like friends than statistics? A small business whose owners impress you with their pluck and determination?
If so, consider dropping some of that cash there. Especially nowadays.
Our communities will be healthier for it.