Being unmarried, I’m a daily shopper - I tend to buy groceries for a day or two at a shot.
Now I can say this. Like a lot of businesses in Macon County, Butch and Shiela over at Hometown have the nicest staff around, and that makes it difficult to get out, because, well, I like to talk.
I don’t remember her name, but I was having a nice conversation with the cashier and she was talking about working extra hours that day.
Then she said it.
“I’m thankful to have a job.”
There is a high price to leaving the county. A high price indeed.
And I'm not talking the money spent on gas.
It is something much more important and far more harmful.
Jobs. And then more jobs. And then even more jobs.
You buy some groceries at Hometown Foods, Piggly Wiggly, Walmart or Sav-a-lot. Part of the money you spend goes to the employees of those stores.
Those employees then take that money. They rent or purchase property in Macon County. They buy their own groceries in Macon County. Maybe they check out a movie at Lafayette Cinema, invest in a savings account at Macon Bank or Citizens Bank, buy some clothes at Macon Department Store or Indigo Blues, buy insurance from a local agent, get some auto repairs at Green Automotive, or pick up a snow shovel at Macon Department Store or Ace Hardware. They can pick up a television at Gross Appliance or a sofa at D.T. McCalls & Sons. They get local phone and internet from NCTC and utilities from Tri-County.
You get the point. Interestingly, each of these businesses then take that money and pay their employees, who in turn spend it locally.
But there's more.
Those local businesses where you spend your money can also hire more employees. They can give raises or provide better benefits. We've seen first hand some expansions and improvements - Hometown Foods not too long ago repainted their building. Piggly Wiggly has new credit card readers at check out.
The banks, by virtue of your deposits, obtain money they can use to lend to home buyers, car buyers and small businesses hoping to expand.
The opposite is true you know. Go to Gallatin and Lebanon enough and eventually, local businesses will suffer. They’ll have to raise prices and cut offerings. They'll lay off. Maybe close.
The ripple effect will spring into place, impacting everyone from the cinema to the local department store to local furniture stores to your bank will feel the impact, and suffer the consequences.
I know that I’ve pounded this drum before in the column, but it is so important. And frankly, I’ve heard some scuttle out there of some folks implying you might be better off going south for your groceries.
That could be devastating.
The simple fact is this. Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy.
Not chicken farms.
Not Nestle, Measure Up nor Fleetwood - though we sure love having them around!
No, it is small businesses, not unlike ours here at the Times, employing eleven people and operating the only local press in the county.
There are business that are unique and hard-working. And they are small.
They employ more people than anyone in the county - like on a national scale.
And they are most susceptible to the impact of consumer decisions.
You and your local spending is the very best stimulus program available.
And, it is the very best tool for economic development possible.
It is also the biggest killer of economic development we have.
Because the world needs more bloggers
Well, it seems that I’ve been duped into blogging. You can read my blog at http://www.maconcountytimes.com/pages/blogs. It can also be found under the “opinion” tab on our web site.
I’ll be discussing various goings on at The Macon County Times - and will update it 2 or 3 times a week - and I welcome your feedback.
And if you are interested in blogging for the Macon County Times, drop me a line and we’ll chat.
You may call Clay Morgan at 666-2440 (office) or 670-6989 (cell), or e-mail him at email@example.com.