I try as much as I can to buy from my neighborhood business and build rapport with the staff and owners of local businesses. I do it because it feels good to walk into my favorite coffee shop (East Harlem Cafe) and say hi to Ricardo and Michelle. Ricardo knows what I like to order, the half walnut salad and half turkey sandwich with no mustard. Also, when my coffee gets cold, he is happy to warm it up for me. It feels good to see a Latina owned business be successful. I started going to East Harlem Cafe three years ago when they first opened and I feel a part of the growing business. It is packed in there almost every day now. It’s wonderful to see.
I do it because the quality of things is much better, and people care to deliver a good product or service.
I have gotten my haircut from Arielle (at Serenity Salon) for the past six years, the entirety of my stay in New York. I have always LOVED the way she cuts my hair. But last time I went I didn’t love it. The haircut wasn’t me. I tried to like it for a couple of days and I just could not get used to it. I called her and told her, and she immediately asked me to come back that day. She re-did my haircut, styled it and was happy that I called so she could give me a haircut I loved. She charged me nothing for the re-do. There wasn’t anything wrong with the haircut, it just wasn’t me. She did it because I have been her client for six years.
The meat market down the street is another example of the benefits of buying from local, community businesses. I can get one perfect, fresh chicken breast. Just one for when I cook only for me. Or I can get three slices of turkey meat for my sandwich. They don’t make a face when I ask for such a small order. They see me in there almost every other day.
These are the benefits, but there is also an importance. When we support small businesses in our communities, we are helping to create jobs, we are helping someone’s dream come true.
This is the reason I am most excited to launch Socstock (www.socstock.com). By helping small business get capital through their customers, we really are building stronger communities.
I can hardly wait to launch!!!!