Vote with your wallet to build a stronger community

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 November 2014 at 12:00 am


File photo by Tom Rivers – Downtown Albion, shown in this picture from a year ago, has many independent merchants offering products and services.

For many of our local merchants, the next month is a make or break time for their businesses. I hope for their sake, and for our community’s, they succeed. But they can’t do it own their own. They need local residents to spend some of their money at these establishments.

It’s harder and harder for the small town merchants to make it. Customers seem entranced by the malls and mega-retailers with their massive marketing budgets. Dollars spent there don’t stay in our community and trickle back to other local businesses.

There is a perception of savings with the giant chains, and I suppose a trip to the mall is a chance for a little adventure. But I would encourage you to give the local downtown business districts a try. There are more businesses in our local downtowns than many people realize. Dollars spent there stay in our community.

The “mom and pop” businesses spend it with other local businesses. They employ local people. They try to keep up historic buildings that are part of our community identity.

Today is Small Business Saturday, a national initiative that seeks to direct some of the holiday shopping dollars with the local merchants.

Medina and Albion have events today as an added incentive to shop downtown. Medina’s Olde Tyme Christmas is a jam-packed schedule from 9 a.m. to the evening, a schedule highlighted by a Parade of Lights at 6 p.m. Click here to see the full schedule.

The Albion Merchants Association is offering a raffle with $100 of gift certificates from local businesses.

The Orleans Hub is possible because of the many advertisers in our community. We won’t survive without these small businesses. These are the business owners who support other local efforts. They are the ones who sponsor 5K races, who take out ads in the school yearbooks, who give baskets of items for benefit fund-raisers.

These are the businesses that build a strong community. They are deserving of your support.