Next Saturday, after all of the crazy Black Friday shopping is over, there is a call to arms to head downtown. (Not “The Downtown” as in the o.b.v.i.o.u.s.l.y. cool phrase for downtown Chicago to make it sound like it is the only downtown you know.) Not THAT downtown, but head to your local Main-Street-USA downtown and support a local business owner.
Support your neighbor.
You may not have been in a small American downtown in a while, and if not, you don’t know what you’re missing. You might only shop at Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Nordstrom’s, Kohls…or Walgreens. (It’s probably best not to tell your beloved that you got their gift at Walgreens though.)
So this Saturday, pick a downtown. Local if you can, but if you are visiting relatives, go to their downtown. Find a new downtown. Head West, young man! Jump on the UP-W and shop Oak Park or River Forest, Elmhurst, Lombard, Glen Ellyn, Wheaton, West Chicago, or Geneva. Meet the owner and thank them for being there before they thank you for the business. And support them with your hard earned cash; don’t just eat the free food they’re serving. We would never want our downtowns to be ghost towns. They are the best slice of Americana there is.
And if you really want a hometown experience, head south 1 hour over the Mason Dixon Line in Illinois (Interstate 80) to Morris. (Take your passport if you feel the need.) Morris has a fabulous downtown. Make a day of it. Have lunch, shop, have dinner and stay for one of the live bands that the bars or restaurants schedule on any given weekend. …55 South to 80 West, you can’t miss it. Scroll down to see just a few (ok, more than a few) of the shops in this great little town.
American Express is even helping you out with a $25 advance to spend locally. You just have to “like” them on Facebook and pledge to shop small and they will gift your card.
Now get out there and do your civic duty! Get out of your Big Box Store rut! No need to “Occupy Anything”. Black Friday sounds like drudgery, but Small Business Saturday sounds like fun and you don’t even have to go at 3am. Plan ahead… shop small, but BUY BIG, and maybe you will find that for the rest of the year you will choose to support these stores, too.
Count the number of times I used the word “downtown” and you could be a winner. I said “you could”, but probably not. There is actually nothing to win.