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Love Local this Valentine's Day

There are many ways to celebrate with your sweetie in Charlestown — and invest in the community at the same time.

Why should you shop at a locally owned business first for Valentine’s Day or any day?

Because far more of the money spent at local businesses is reinvested in your community — Charlestown! This helps all local brick and mortar businesses, which creates greater diversity and helps the community maintain its unique appeal. Shopping 02129, is environmentally friendly, too: it creates less traffic and pollution.

In a book I’ve been reading, Big Box Swindle by Stacy Mitchell. The author aptly points out, “Large retail chains have become the most powerful corporations in America and are rapidly transforming our economy, communities, and landscape."

The book illustrates how mega-retailers are fueling many of our most pressing problems, from the shrinking middle class to rising water pollution and diminished civic engagement. It is an interesting take on big retailers. So much so, that American Express decided to partner with the 3/50 project and declared last fall that “independent small retailers are going to bring back the American economy."

As a small business, I have to say that, until last fall, I did not feel the love from American Express. However, their marketing efforts and co-promotions both on television and online are backing small Main Street shops. I’ll talk more about the 3/50 Project in this column from time to time – but their mission is simple:

  • To promote and strengthen independent brick and mortar businesses owned by people in the community
  • To thank consumers for their patronage
  • To expand local revenue streams by showing how a small dollar amount can translate into enormous financial stability
  •  To shine a light on the stark contrast between what an independent, locally owned brick and mortar business contributes to the local economy versus the significantly lower amount big boxes, franchises, chains, and internet purchases return
  • To save the local economy...three stores at a time!

To find out more about the 3/50 Project and how you can help your community, find them on Facebook.

Specifically in Charlestown, (full disclosure — my store), , , , , Harvard Art & Frame, the various nail salons on Main Street and Bunker Hill Street (think gift gard); and salons such as , , , , etc. —  they are all at your fingertips, eager to help you find the perfect anything you want for your love, son, daughter, Mom, Dad, partner, dog or cat!

Charlestown’s restaurants also have lovely Valentine’s Day special menus – but are gracious and wonderful any other day of the week too! A gift card to a favorite 02129 restaurant is a personal and lovely gift. Navy Yard Bistro, Max & Dylan’s, Grasshopper Café, The Family Kitchen, Paolo’s, Tangerino’s, and Figs, are just a few establishments that are waiting for you on Monday (or any other day too). Don’t forget your local coffee shops – Sorelle’s and Zume’s have lovely treats – gift cards, coffee by the pound, beautiful pastries and other culinary treats. The Warren-Tavern is still a town favorite — and they will welcome you happily. Lots of choices and I haven’t even named them all!

Explore 02129. See if you can shop and dine 02129 for one week. If you do, drop me an email at abby@oliviabrowning.com and tell me how your week went. I’d also love an informal poll of what other kind of businesses you’d like to see in town. If one builds one, we all must support – so tell me what you want!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

Megan Scarborough February 10, 2011 at 03:19 PM
I wish we had a little gym on Main St! Nothing too fancy, but some group classes and machines would be a great addition to Charlestown Yoga. A dog park would also be fantastic. There are quite a few places I think they could put one. There are so many dogs in Charlestown, and it would be great to have a nice little fenced-in area for them to run and play together.
Ali Fornash February 10, 2011 at 09:46 PM
I would love to see a little health food store- similar to Trader Joe's. Terminal Street would be a great spot for it.
Karen Fabian February 11, 2011 at 01:11 PM
Ali, I SO agree! I'd love to do that too. Quick to go items of prepared healthy food, smoothies, bars, fruit.. like a little Savenor's ( on Charles Street) except all healthy stuff..that would be great!

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