A Cautionary Morning

Josie Leavitt -- April 21st, 2014

I have written before of my relationship with my local coffee shop, Villiage Wine and Coffee. I am there every day that I work, and most days that I’m not at the store. They start making my drink before I reach the counter; they draw a picture on my cup daily, they provide breakfast now and stock the oatmeal that has all the berries because it’s all I eat, etc. They are closed for the week to refinish their floors and I am bereft.

They are only closed until Friday, when they’ll reopen with a shiny new floor. But the lack of them in my week has gotten me thinking about how I’ve come to need them. Yes, I love coffee, but it’s so much more than that. Kevin’s, as we all call it, is where I go to see friends and get hugs. I can get caught up on news in the village by going there and I never know who will be there that I know and enjoy. Kevin and I talk about the plight of small businesses in this world of people getting everything online cheaper but at a steeper personal cost.

Again, I am reminded of the importance of shopping at the places you want to stay open. In our small village with our collection of a dozen or shops, there is a deep reliance on our core customers. We feel the lack of each one when they move, or when they get an e-reader and stop buying books. Yes, I know they can buy e-books from us, but most prefer to go to Amazon or iTunes. I guess this week I’m getting a preview of what would happen if the coffee shop ever closed. And I do not like my world without it.

I had an idea for the village stores to make a point about how much they are needed. I wondered what would happen if we all closed for one day, or even half a day. And rather than being open we would explain to customers the importance of them choosing us over online shopping. I wanted the total dramatic effect of shuttered stores for the day with OUT OF BUSINESS signs in the windows.  I wanted people to see just what it would feel like if we all closed. I know people have the best intentions about where they spend their money. But it’s easy to get caught up in the ease of online shopping and forget that every dollar spent online is a dollar that your local store needs. Not only does the local store need it, but more of that dollar stays in your town. I envision a day where everyone gets it and realizes that where you spend every retail actually really does matter.

For now, I will try to remember to make extra coffee at home to bring to work and count the days until Friday.