Keeping Local Alive
Sorry, no food in today’s post. Instead, I have a somewhat urgent plea directed towards those of you that are here with me in Philadelphia and a general “post-it note” for those of you with a “local” mind-set everywhere. I just found out that my favorite of all bookstores is on the brink of closing its doors. Walk a Crooked Mile is a local shop I’ve featured on the blog before. It’s a community institution in Mt. Airy, my neighborhood, and has been a source of countless hours of pleasurable lazy afternoon book browsing for myself and many others. Hearing how the economy has taken its toll on Walk a Crooked Mile reminds me how precious and fragile our local businesses – those that have such “personality” and really contribute to the fabric of our communities – are and how quickly something that’s “been around forever” can suddenly be “closed for good.”
With the holidays fast approaching again, I’d encourage you to start making your shopping lists in a very different manner. Rather than think about what everyone on your list wants in a generic sense, why not make a list of shops in your community that you’d really like to support and then put the names of people you’re buying for next to the shops where you’ll probably find something they like. Then go out and support local businesses by finding unique gifts for everyone on your list in those local stores. I know it can be a little more expensive sometimes, but think about how boring life would be if our only merchants were cheap big box stores and fast food chains. Gift certificates to local businesses are another great way to get your friends and family to go check out the local scene and appreciate all it has to offer. Several stores, including Walk a Crooked Mile, sell their wares online so you’re not limited to giving gift certificates to those folks that live in the same ‘hood as you.
I am going to be doing some early holiday shopping and stock up on some of the excellent gardening and food reference books that Walk a Crooked Mile always has on hand. If you’re in Philly, why not make an afternoon of it – take the R7 to the Mt. Airy stop and have a free cup of tea or coffee and pet C.C. the resident cat while you take in the nostalgic aroma of old books and soak up the puddles of sunshine that always seem to be streaming through the windows at Walk a Crooked Mile. If you’re not in Philadelphia, but have a heart of gold, you can still help keep this beautiful book store in business by making a donation online.
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