This week is a bittersweet one for me. It’s my last week as the sales consultant for the Baldwin Bulletin. In what seems a whirlwind, I was offered a position with the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service.

If you’ve read my column, you know that’s pretty much right up my alley; working with the biggest federal agency that promotes rural issues, preserving land for environmental welfare, and located locally. I would be a fool to turn it down. Even though I really enjoy working for the paper, I’ll be happy to be putting my college degree to work.

I thought, for my very last column, I’d leave you with the most important message I’ve tried to convey in all my previous columns: support your local businesses, they support you.

I am continually astounded by the investment our local businesses put into the communities around them. The dollars you spend there are reinvested to sponsor school activities and coverage, donate to local charities, and support community festivals.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the number of local businesses sponsoring the Chamber of Commerce’s Chili Fest. It’s astounding. And many area businesses assist with events like this much more often than you’d think.

Before you purchase online, take a long moment to consider whether the savings is truly worth it. Instead of padding the pockets of the wealthiest people in the world. Invest in your neighbors so they can invest in you.

The last thing to say is thank you. Thank you Tracey, for picking up my position where I am leaving off. I hope the job is as good to you as it was to me. Thank you Steve for being a role model of awesomeness. Thank you Jake, for the arguments. Thank you Katie for the talks. And thanks, Matt for the media recommendations.

Cathy, thank you for patiently re-designing draft after draft of ads for me. Thanks Tom, for taking a chance and hiring me at a low point in my life. Thank you also to Sentinel Publications and all the staff at our sister papers for making this just a great company to work for. And finally, thank you very much to the many business owners and marketing managers with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work.

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