A Reminder to Shop Locally

On my morning walk to the Williamsburg Bridge, I’ve been feeling gnawed up every time I see the “Coming Soon: Duane Reade” sign flapping in the wind directly across from Kings Pharmacy at North 3rd and Bedford Ave. Duane Reade, as of February 17, is a front for Walgreen’s, the largest pharmacy chain in America, centered in Deerfield, Il.

When I feel myself becoming incensed, I try to remind myself to think rationally and not emotionally– Duane Reade is allowed to come into that building because it’s “as-of-right use.” Is it excessive to have two pharmacies directly across the street from one another? I think so, but that hasn’t stopped plenty of others before.

I know I’m a little late on this story, since I’ve noticed it reported on in several other blogs and newspapers, including Gothamist, and heck! There’s even a facebook group about it.

As members of this community we have good reason to be upset. The tangled fear I feel at the vision of this plastic flag has more to do with our neighborhood becoming increasingly filled with generic chains at the cost of small business. Studies show that when corporate chains take over where local businesses once stood, it directly creates a loss of local empowerment, worker incomes and opportunities, local social supports, local sourcing, local tax revenue and of course, local flavor.

There are many good reasons to shop locally, at places like Kings and Northside Pharmacy and the myriad of other local businesses in the area, and they aren’t just in my gut… they are logical too.

So what do you think? Are we ready to vote with our money, and share our knowledge with neighbors of WHY shopping locally is important long term?

For more food for thought about shopping locally check out the Institute for Local Self Reliance.

My awareness of the studies I included in this post come from via this great blog.

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