It was once written that the soul of civic life in a state’s towns and villages is the local newspaper. Residents refer to these newspapers to keep a finger on the pulse of their communities. They go to find answers to questions about local politics and to learn what’s going on in the schools, the city council meetings, the town hall, the senior and community centers. They go to see photographs of their sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters as they score that goal, earn that Eagle Scout award, make their way to the Honor’s list, showoff the huge fish they caught, graduate from college. They go to learn of loved ones passed.
Readers also go to find the latest information on upcoming events, promotions or services provided by their favorite businesses ~ from restaurants to tradesmen to salons to repair shops to childcare ~ the list goes on and on. Just pick up any newspaper and you will find something about your neighborhood business that you will find useful and timely.
The truth is, we need our local businesses as much as we need the local newspapers that tell their stories and survive on their advertising dollars. The newspapers may be the soul of the the city, but the businesses are the heart. Supporting these businesses is as critical to the survival of our communities as the heart is to the life of a person.
As the business spotlight writer for the Cranston Herald, the Johnston SunRise and the Warwick Beacon, I have had the privilege of interviewing the owners of these businesses for the past twelve years. It has been an enormous privilege to tell their stories and to share their goals, aspirations, and histories.
I have learned that these businessmen and women, whose walks in life are each so different, genuinely love what they do. Most have invested their every penny into their product or service. Most have sacrificed everything to be successful, and many have survived natural disasters and even pandemics. Many of these businesses have been run by generations of family members.
Yet many have also failed, and I have felt that pang of sorrow when I drive by their shuttered stores or offices, knowing that what was lost was so much more than a business, but rather a dream ~ sometimes a lifetime of dreams.
What will keep the dreams and goals of these many diverse business owners alive is your continued patronage. Shop at your local stores. Support your local, family-run restaurants, salons, service stations, retail stores, gift shops, electricians, plumbers, doctors, dry cleaners, and so many more. They need you to stay alive. We need them to thrive.
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