If you’ve read my column, you know I like to talk about supporting local businesses. I often meet people of a certain distinguished age who blame my generation for purchasing from Amazon too often. But I tend to think that, although there are differences between generations, most of our problems are not those of the generation, but of the circumstance. Instead of writing more on the subject, I am re-publishing an editorial written to the Baldwin Bulletin and published on July 12th, 1929. Enjoy.
“If poor ‘Bill Joness’ or ‘Dick Smith’ were down sick and their wives and children in distress for something to eat, do you think that any of the multi-millionaire mail order houses would trust them for food or clothing until those two breadwinners were back on their jobs? Perish the thought! They wouldn’t think of it. Yet right here in Baldwin there are any number of stores which would, and hundreds who read this will agree that the same kind of friendship and faith and sympathy has been extended to them by our home town merchants.
This example is set forth not merely for the purpose of increasing the good feeling which exists for our home-town merchants, but it has a vital bearing upon the prosperity and development of our town. In an age of trusts and huge combinations, it is fitting that all who do not belong, and are not a part of these great trusts pause and consider to what extent they are contributing to the selfish purposes of these giant monopolies.
The dollar once gone out of Baldwin to the great cities does not come back, and by the sum total of these dollars which are gone forever our community is impoverished. It is only simple arithmetic to calculate the facts. Income must be more than outgo or we will slip backwards. Therefore we must keep the money at home and we will all prosper.
The home town merchant is the backbone of the community. He tides us over the stress and strain of life and makes it possible for us to have the things we want when we want them. He is honest and sincere and gladly exchanges any article for which does not come up to representations or the modern standards. We have the privilege of examination when we buy from him and he helps us support the schools and churches and pays his part of the taxes. Without him, we would have no town, but merely a group of homes which would soon be empty. Every dollar of profit which he makes on one of your purchases will remain at home and keep on working for the embitterment of our community.
It is a fast age and competition is keen. Perhaps it is fitting to quote Ben Franklin’s immortal admonition to his colleagues when signing the Declaration of Independence: “We must all hang together, or we will all hang separately.”
In short, let us think twice before mailing an order to a distant city, when we take a short auto trip let us be sure to get our gas at home, and at all times let us unite for the upbuilding of Baldwin. Loyalty to our community costs nothing and yet it brings vast returns. Stand by those who have stood by you and watch old Baldwin grow and blossom like the rose.”