And the TOP PRIZE goes to - The wealth of a local mindset.

In my life I have lived in great communities and I have lived in very isolated communities where you wouldn’t even know the person who sleeps on the other side of your bedroom wall. Village Works moved into a well established neighborhood a few weeks back and we have been caught off guard by the grace and hospitality it offers. We have a front porch and a back porch. Within the first week we learned the front porch is where you sit when you want to chat with your neighbors. I’m getting better at remembering names, but it’s not just one name you have to remember with each encounter, because even if the whole family isn’t there, you’ll have at kid, a dog, a grandparent perhaps and you’ll even learn the names of those missing from the walk.

This is in stark contrast to living in LA or Toronto (unless you luck into a gated enclave, sadly).

Being in the midst of this type of life style, where you know and like your neighbors, perhaps even feel they have your back - has made me feel even more protective about the local community and its assets.

Today I logged on to my Canadian paper of choice, The Toronto Star. The first advert that came up is asking me ‘tired of paying retail in Bowmanville?’ The ad takes you to an online shopping experience, most likely outsourced to India or the Asian triangle somewhere. While these ads bug me at the best of times, today I take it personally. I take it personally because I now know the person who owns the local dress shop, I know the stories of the stores that closed when Wal-Mart came to town. I know the people I want to support.

I was chatting with someone earlier this week who was telling me about a local publication that has just recently let their graphic arts staff go. That work is now being outsourced to India. So if you call and want to purchase advertising in this local paper, a portion of your advertising dollar is now going to India. I imagine this is the case in most of the money we spend today.

But as I sit on my front porch, in between visits, I make a conscious decision to ask every single time I’m purchasing a service or product, even if I think it might be 100% local, if any part of my purchase is being outsourced, and if it is I will look for alternatives to fill the gaps locally. If I want to place an ad, I will deliver it to the publication press ready using local talent. If I want to purchase a dress, I will go to my local dress shop.

I’ll do it because it matters, it makes communities and communities help deliver a great life where we trust and like each other. That spreads out into every interaction and conversation someone has when they go outside of the community.

You may not get ridiculously rich being a local merchant servicing a community you adore, but wealth comes in many forms. It comes from that hand to hand delivery. It comes from the earning of and sustaining a good reputation and relationship building (not a successful ad campaign). It makes you love what you do and if we can reach that height, we are richer than anyone else on the face of the planet, regardless of the stacks of cash in their bank accounts and the size of their second and third homes.

Wishing you an insightful week. May the graces of community be bestowed upon us.

 

1 comment

  • dankitti

    dankitti

    Do you get American television in Canada? What you described is something out of The Andy Griffith Show! They did not have outsourced jobs in Mayberry! They had Aunt Bee and Opie and Andy and they had a good time sitting on the front porch and chillin'! Good to know there still are places like that.

    Do you get American television in Canada? What you described is something out of The Andy Griffith Show! They did not have outsourced jobs in Mayberry! They had Aunt Bee and Opie and Andy and they had a good time sitting on the front porch and chillin'! Good to know there still are places like that.

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