Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Guest Blogger Rob Bennion
Network locally, shop locally; keep the revenue downtown!
I have had the privilege to live in a few different places during my 28 years: London, Brazil, Hawaii, Japan; and have traveled to many states and countries: all over the US, parts of Canada, most of Western Europe, much of South and Central America. Something that always makes a place stand out is when there's a real sense of community, and character. I think a lot of this has to do with how well the local businesses and community support each other.
I've been out of the state for a few years, and coming back to Provo I received a pleasant surprise: downtown's looking great! Kudos to everyone who's made this happen . . . downtown Provo is beginning to have that sense of community support I'm talking about.
When I have the option, I try to shop from locally-owned and operated businesses. You may see my wife and I biking around town with our 2 kids in tow in the little red bike stroller as we ride around supporting our local businesses: eating at the Lotus Garden or El Salvador Restaurant; buying art supplies at Provo Art and Frame; or getting ice cream at Maestro's Gelato. I like to have meetings with my band at the Smokehouse, and when family's in town we go to Los Hermanos. We've been to Comedy Sports, seen many music performances at Muse, Velour, and many other places that don't even exist anymore.
As a musician I've performed at many local venues over the years: Pier 54, the Station, the Palace, Starry Night, ABG's, Atchafalayas, The Roasted Artichoke, Mama's Cafe, Muse Music, Velour, Seven Peaks, and the once great Omni/Edge dance club. I remember when No Doubt opened for local band Stretch Amstrong's cd release party right here in P-town! Great job Cory Fox in keeping the music scene going through all these venue changes.
It's not always convenient to shop locally as big-box stores push out the little guys. I believe that we can all help create this sense of strong community; where people choose to pay a little more perhaps for the better customer service, better product, and improve the local flavor.
I'm a saxophone player and band leader in constant contact with many event coordinators, registered brides, and customers who are planning an event. Networking together our community can keep these customers coming to our local shops and family-owned businesses.