It has always been my opinion that to support unique local businesses (ex - Skylight instead of Starbucks) maintains the character and charm of towns such as Chapel Hill. I don’t want my town to look like every other! Local businesses also tend to be much more customer-friendly and personal, and I guarantee that if you start going to one local coffee shop regularly, the employees will learn your name and your favorite drink in no time. But in class yesterday, we hit on another great reason not to buy from chains and superstores - the preservation of precious resources.
In our country, one of the most effective ways for ordinary citizens to make a difference is through our decisions as consumers. Therefore, it is our responsibility as environmentally aware community members to choose very wisely. In our discussion yesterday we briefly touched on the impact that superstores are having on our land usage; as a reminder, the average superstore takes up about 16 acres of land. Local businesses typically take up a lot less space, and even though they might not have what you’re looking for, chances are they will be willing to order it if you ask. In addition to wasted land resource, we are all familiar with the accusations that have been made against corporations such as Wal-Mart with respect to the way they treat their employees, and this is obviously not worth supporting, either.
Buying from local farms is a great way to help out the environment and your community, as well. If the produce you buy is grown locally then it doesn’t have to travel as far to get to you, meaning that you are helping to save energy, both from the power it takes to move the trucks and to keep the food refrigerated. So check out the Farmer’s Market, to begin with. And you can buy Maple View’s milk products right from the grocery store, which is especially great because their milk comes in glass bottles that you can bring back to the store for a partial refund when you’re through. After all, reusing is much better than recycling.