This week while working at the Woodstock Farm Festival, I discovered a new vendor I had never met before. Due to rain and thunderstorms in the forecast, many vendors didn’t show up; however, this ominous forecast did not stop a five-year-old boy from setting up shop next to me. He carried a tiny black stool (for him to sit on) and a slightly larger one. His mother lovingly draped a scarf over the larger stool, where he carefully laid out his product, placing a cardboard sign in front that read, in rainbow-colored letters, “COLORED ROCKS. 50 CENTS.” He then got himself a donut, sat down, and proceeded to rally in his customers.
The parents of the young businessman-in-the-making watched from across the street, letting him have full reign over his business. He’d yell, “Rocks! Rocks! Gotta get some rocks! Anyone want a rock?” Next to him was a little glass jar for coins, which was soon filled, including some folded paper bills. As customers approached his stand, he spoke to them one by one, carefully guiding them to their perfect rock. He was a natural businessman—confident, polite, and charming, yet relentless.
It wasn’t what he sold that appealed to customers so much as the feeling and intention behind his business. (I’m sure no one went to the market that day because they had a dire need for purple, sparkly rocks.) The genuine passion and care that he put into coloring and selling rocks was irresistible for them. He believed in his product, and he believed people would enjoy it.
The Hudson Valley is home to a diverse culture of business owners, artisans, makers, and craftspeople. While it is known to be a destination spot for tourists and city dwellers, the small business economy is a distinctive characteristic of the region. When you hear that something’s been “handmade in the Hudson Valley,” you immediately feel the intention that went into making that product.
reasons to shop locally
1. When you shop locally, the money stays in the community.
2. Money that stays in the community helps the local economy thrive and supports the lives of community members.
3. You get a chance to build relationships—with business owners and employees, as well as with fellow customers.
4. Shopping locally also means you save on travel time and expenses. Less time in the car means more time shopping, which might get the holiday shopping done sooner (which might be a plus!).
TAKE THE SHOP LOCALLY HOLIDAY CHALLENGE
Shopping locally keeps money circulating within our communities. Keeping the money in our hands supports local business owners. When you shop locally, you support a dream. You’re supporting someone’s adventure. VISITvortex is proud to be sponsoring a “Shop Locally Holiday Challenge” this season.
Do your holiday shopping locally and then write about your experience and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 15, 2019. The selected winner will be featured on VISITvortex social media channels in early February and will also receive a
$100 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO A LOCAL BUSINESS.
Happy (local) shopping!