Sacred Grounds in upstate New York. Sure, I could have stopped at that famously-named coffee shop along the way, but I didn't. I shopped locally. Why? For several reasons.
Firstly, it's new in our community and I thought I would check it out. I like to give new local businesses a try. As a society, we have lost our way in the "Big Box Mart" industrialization for more and more profits, while sacrificing people and our environment. Plus, shopping locally keeps more money in the local community. And, shouldn't we really be re-building our economy from the inside out vs. mortgaging our future with loans from overseas?
Secondly, Sacred Grounds offers locally roasted, fair trade organic coffee. And that's important to me (and it should be to you, too). Why? In short, "fair trade" means that someone was paid a sustainable wage using earth-friendly practices to produce the coffee. And "organic" means that it was made without pesticides or chemicals. I am much happier knowing that I am drinking coffee that wasn't produced by relative slave-labor then sprayed with toxic chemicals.
Thirdly, there's something rather nostalgic and restorative about going somewhere local vs. a nationally-owned chain. It's like giving yourself a "time out" to regroup, restore, and breathe a bit. You can get to know your neighbors and connect with the local culture and goings-on. People watching takes on a whole new level as well. You get to play connect-the-social-dots with the familiar faces you've seen around town.
So, the next time you're tempted to swing on in to a corporately-owned, generic "Big Box Mart," chain eatery or coffee shop, try to find somewhere a little more local and more personable. On many levels, you'll get more flavor for your dollar.