[OPINION] Westporter Urges: Make Good Choices. Support Local Businesses.

Michael Smith is an alert “06880” reader, a longtime Westporter and a financial advisor. He writes:

We all have choices to make. We should understand the impact of every choice.

The other day I read in the New York Times about a hardware store closing in Manhattan. Not exactly unheard-of in the age of the internet and Amazon.

It was by a Columbia Law professor who wrote a book on the impacts on small businesses in America, from increasing corporate influence and rising rents in wealthy areas of the country. That’s something worth considering, as residents of Westport.

All of our local businesses have 2 things in common. One is that they contribute to the tax base; the other is that they have some “ripple effect.”

Indulge by Mersene on Railroad Place is a very cool, funky — and thriving — local business.

The contribution to the tax base is obvious, but the implications from declining contributions to our town budget from the state level are becoming increasingly important.

It’s harder to quantify when you click “buy now” on the web, along with impacts on the environment from single-use plastics and our collective carbon footprint.

The other “ripple effect” — which is much harder to see — is the choices individuals and small businesses make from the standpoint of investment in maintaining or opening new businesses, and where to own personal real estate.

Last April, I attended a panel discussion sponsored by the Coalition for Westport which attempted to discuss some of these issues and develop awareness. That session highlighted the complexity of the issues and difficulties of making change a plurality can agree on.

More awareness and involvement would be beneficial, because at the very least it helps us all understand that we can make a difference by recognizing the impact of our choices.

Westport residents would do well to consider the long-term impacts on our tax base and property values from short-term decisions, such as where to buy light bulbs, screws, household items and clothing. These purely economic considerations play a large role in the broader concept of community.

Where do yhou buy screws or lightbulbs?

I advocate for all of us to make a conscious commitment to consider what item or substitute could be purchased here in Westport, or very close by, to help sustain the economic component of our community.

I have no personal interest in writing this. I am a 25-plus-year resident of Westport, and a financial advisor who understands the rapid and far-reaching dynamics of our global economy in the 21st century.

As I told my children when they were young; “Life is about choices. Make good ones.”

16 responses to “[OPINION] Westporter Urges: Make Good Choices. Support Local Businesses.

  1. How many mom and pop stores have been lost because of the Home Depots , large stores like CVS, Walmart, Lowes etc…? In the 1950s, I remember going to the Westfair Shopping Center to the small drug store owned by Paul Zadoff. (Yes Westfair was referred to as a shopping center before the advent of the mall.) I’m so fortunate I lived in a time period, in Westport, before these mega stores and Amazon. My grandfather basically knew everyone in town, at one point in time, and Westport was a small sleepy town in his day before 1950. I have a receipt from 1950, for 5 gallons of gas and a pack of cigarettes- $1.46. Click below to see that receipt:

    https://danwoog.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/backiel-receipt.jpg?resize=438%2C438

  2. GOOD ARTICLE!

  3. Dale Eyerly Colson

    Very well said!

  4. All great points. One more to add. If we have successful stores the real estate value of the underlying property remains strong and thus the Grand List stays strong and the tax from the commercial base keeps the residential burden lower. This then makes the town more attractive to new residents and strengthens the community.

    Recently the Chamber of Commerce and the Library teamed up to present the ongoing Supper & Soul, Dinner and Concert series. 200 people attended the concert, but more importantly 141 dinners were served in 8 local restaurants. This was a direct infusion of capital into the local economy, while at the same time giving residents a fun evening right here in Downtown Westport.

    Shopping local is a big part of supporting your town. Engaging and attending the events the DMA and Chamber put on keeps the vibrancy going and has the residents staying and others coming in to enjoy themselves.

    Happy Holidays folks.

  5. Great thinking‼️Our local stores are our “comfort and ease.”…hen you add to the equation…travel and time….wow! Gratitude is the attitude.💥💥💥

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  6. Randy Herbertson

    Great post – we will be forwarding to our mailing list for the Downtown district. There are so many new things happens and established favorites downtown – even as more construction continues to make the area more climate proof as well as attractive.
    Hope all will consider our pop up weekend December 7-8, and the Shop Local card from the Westport Moms to help support a new downtown playground.

  7. “Life is about choices. Make good ones.”
    Remember that the next time you are voting…

    Worst States for Business:
    The five least tax-friendly states for business are the following:
    46. Arkansas
    47. Connecticut
    48. New York
    49. California
    50. New Jersey
    https://www.thebalance.com/best-and-worst-states-for-business-3193240

  8. Neighbors, it just so happens today is small business Saturday. The 10th annual installment. (Dan did not schedule this in conjunction with the date).

    https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/

  9. It is not just that local residents should shop at and support local stores, but one significant problem the greed of the landlords and the exorbitant rents leave a constant state of a dozen plus stores always vacant for years on end. Anyone remember how long the current vacant Remarkable Books has been on the market for rent or sale. Rough guess: At least 15 years.

  10. Thank you for this article. I am a Westport resident and run a tech start up with a small but fiesta team of local residents.
    Are you participating in Small Business Saturday? Well, for all of you with a super competitive spirit I submit the following. American Express says if you shop a small business an average of 67 cents on every dollar stays local. BUT, I say, if you buy something made in the USA, surely 100 cents of every dollar stays local! Be an over-achiever today! We have over 9000 made in USA, and over 1000 of them are on sale this weekend. You can turbo power your local shopping at AnytownUSA.com today, you can even use our filter-by-state feature and purchase specifically from CT artists and makers! You can also read about our launch in the 06880 blog archive- a “tip of the hat” to Dan Woog for supporting us since day one:)

  11. William Strittmatter

    Extrapolating from Michael Smith’s fine thoughts, also remember to buy “Made in the USA”. Precisely the same analysis though slightly different geography.

    Let’s face it, the problem is folks like to buy things for less money even if it means the demise of local “mom and pop” establishments or jobs for fellow citizens/residents.

  12. Westport Hardware is simply the greatest most helpful family run business, love them!!! Hiw about this idea, put a tax on certain more expensive non-essential items bought over the internet, will make people buy local

  13. Great article Dan

    New England Hemp Farm wants to thank everyone who has made a visit to our store this month and provided such a warm welcome

    In honor of small business Saturday we are providing 20 percent discount on all purchases today

  14. Wonderful article Dan .. I always try to support local business , before I go elsewhere due to the shop didn’t have what I was looking for .. Westport Hardware is a Wonderful place , full of many many items …

  15. The folks at Westport Hardware are awesome! As are the folks across the street at Colonial Drug..Never have to wait in line.

  16. So so so true. And this time of year is so important to retailers – great reminder to love and support our locals.

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