The return of the local business

Back in the old days, I imagine that everyone knew the businesses right around them. If you didn’t have a car, I’m guessing your options were foot, bike, and bus, with the latter not happening all of the time. For my grandparents who grew up in central Alberta, even going to a restaurant was a big deal, at least when they were young. So this notion of hopping in the car and driving 5 miles for…anything is relatively new.

After years of getting pounded on by the Internet and by chain stores, I anticipate the return of the small, local business. As gas gets more expensive, and as people to appreciate the value of “local” once again, we’ll start to seek out, discover, and support local businesses more.

I was recently looking for a hair salon for a friend, and so I did my usual thing: hopping onto Yelp to find out which businesses are around, which are affordable, which are good. And so I came up with a list of salons to call–all within about 5 miles of here, when I stumbled on something very unexpected:

There’s a salon across the street.

I’ve lived here over three years and I didn’t know that there was a salon one block away, on the other side of the street. Wow. I must have passed the storefront, because I patronize a dry cleaner that is very close by. But I just wasn’t paying attention–it didn’t register.

I’m glad I had this experience because it brings into my awareness how much I depend on the car for day to day living, and how I’d lost track of that. Why drive 5 miles when I can walk across the street? Going I will pay more attention to what businesses are nearby. I hope they have good service.

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