For the last 27 years, we have reached out to our readers and asked them to identify who they thought was best in a multitude of categories. The contest is a way to highlight and celebrate the people, the businesses and the organizations that provide us with our goods, services and entertainment. At its best, the contest can engender a friendly competition to go one step further and to fully embody what it means, to us, to be our best.
As a new generation of residents flocks to the valley, the services that are provided through small local businesses are imperative for our community’s survival and resilience.
Change is in the air and, at the same time, there is a continuum. There is a flavor of community that is reflected in our local businesses, service people, and organizations. Each, in their own way, reflects their passion and their vocation. Each makes up a collective whole that is local and particular to this community.
Local is important. A sense of place is essential. It is something that we need to own. This is something that we need to inhabit and support.
Here are some reasons why.
By supporting local businesses, we support the local economy; significantly more money stays in a community when purchases are made at locally-owned establishments.
Independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales to the community in which they operate than chain competitors. Independent restaurants return more than two times as much money per dollar of sales than national restaurant chains.
In addition, there are also notable intangible benefits that come from supporting businesses. Local businesses are owned and operated by our neighbors! They care about and are invested in the well-being of our community and its future. They support our nonprofits and volunteer emergency services corps and departments.
While it may be true that there are some things that can only be found online, we need to balance those purchases with what we can obtain locally. If we don’t support local, there will be no local. It’s that simple.
In the year ahead, I hope you will join me in making the commitment to check out what’s available in our local market, support it when you can, and thank the proprietors for their tireless work and commitment to providing for our communities.
Start today as you peruse the Best of 2022 for 2023.
Congratulations to all of the winners and thanks to all those who voted.