Monday, March 29, 2010

a challenging challenge

A couple weeks ago, I started thinking about setting a challenge for myself - to avoid big box stores for the rest of the year. One of the interesting things with this is of course defining "big box store" - we all think of Walmart and Target, Lowes and Home Depot. I'd consider Petco a pet-themed big box store, and there are other places that come to mind too as places I'd rather avoid (chain pharmacies like Walgreens, for example).

But what about "local chains" (like Pet Quarters, which has locations only in NH and Maine)... or what they call "locally owned franchises" - Ace Hardware comes to mind. Are these to be avoided, or are they ok alternatives when a truly local, independently owned, small business alternative isn't available?

I haven't quite figured that out yet. I'd like to think that I can shop exclusively at independently owned, small local stores - but is that even possible any more? And if I'm buying Tylenol (national, factory-made product) at Calef's (local, independently owned store) am I really making a difference?? Do I want to avoid both the non-locally-owned stores and the products that are made at far-flung factory locations???

These things really do keep me thinking!! I certainly don't have all my answers yet - but I'm working on it - and to my thought, if I'm pondering these things, I'm already shopping more carefully and conscientiously - which has to be better than the alternative, right?

So meanwhile, as I try to figure this out, I've been buying pet food at places like this...

And lumber from places like this...

And what I have already have learned is that I, for one, am much happier driving out to a lumber yard that's surrounded by forest and blue skies, than I am driving out to Home Depot where I'm surrounded by nothing but parking lots and more stores!!

This is going to be a fun adventure!!!!

4 comments:

Sara said...

It's always a tough decision - where to spend my dollars. And, who is local - like the Ace Hardware store in my town is owned by people who live here...

I can get away with buying most things in stores that are locally owned...but, my biggest problem is buy clothes...

It's a learning game - and I, like you, have done a lot better this past year.

Ecocheapo said...

Ooh, great topic! I ponder this on a very regular basis and I think the thing I struggle most with is "one stop shopping". Shopping at locally owned stores means hitting places that specialize in particular products and when I have a list of ten things to get it is often tought to think about making five stops with three kids in tow rather than the easy way out at the dreaded Wally World. I will have to become more organized to get this done, but it is definitely doable. Thanks for the inspiration!

Life Looms Large said...

Interesting topic. I always think of Ace and Aubuchon as kind of local....even though I guess they're really not.

I could have a very good eating year shopping at farmer's markets, farms and Tuttle's. And Philbrick's is locally owned....although the food doesn't all come from here.

Good luck!! When you discover local stores, let us know!!!

Sue

Life Looms Large said...

Oh, I forgot to say on my blog that Riverslea is expecting more baby goats and lambs any day now.....so if you want to email them about visiting the new babies and maybe helping feed and socialize them, I'm sure they'd be glad of the help!!

Enjoy this great spring weather!! We deserve it after all this sogginess!

Sue