The other day I was having what’s left of my hair cut. Tommy Ghianuly — for 50 years the owner of Compo Barber Shop — and I chatted away, solving the world’s problems.
In mid-snip, a man Tommy never saw before walked in. A concert was coming up; could Tommy put a poster in his window? Of course, Tommy said. Immediately he added it to the other flyers — for carnivals, Toquet Hall, music recitals — that filled the front.
You must get asked for a lot of things, I said.
You have no idea, Tommy replied.
I thought about all the program booklets I’ve seen. Staples Players, sports banquets, charity fundraisers — if there’s a printed brochure, Compo Barbers likely has an ad.
I asked Tommy about that too.
If it involves kids, he tries to support it, Tommy said. He can’t do everything, but for him kids come first.
Tommy’s not the only one. Fortuna’s, Calise’s, Westport Wash & Wax, Mitchells, Land-Tech, Gault — they, and many others, are always asked to buy ads. And they almost always do.
What do they have in common? They’re all local businesses.
Now think about who doesn’t buy program ads: the chain stores. You rarely see them supporting Westport events.
If you work on a local project and you ask a chain store for help, you know the responses: “Sorry, it’s against store policy.” “We’d love to, but we can’t.” “I have to check with corporate. Can you call back in 2 or 3 weeks?”
The next time you sit down at a Staples play, sports banquet or similar event, look closely at the program. Think about who really supports our town.
And then support those folks too.