editorial

Vote for our community

By LAURIE STUART
Posted 11/4/20

In the last two weeks, we’ve used this space to ask you to vote for local papers: to become a subscriber and to support the businesses that advertise in our pages.

We asked you to vote …

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editorial

Vote for our community

Posted

In the last two weeks, we’ve used this space to ask you to vote for local papers: to become a subscriber and to support the businesses that advertise in our pages.

We asked you to vote with your heart and not your ideology. We asked you to vote for democracy by participating in your civic duty.

Now we ask you to vote for community.

We ask you to vote for the businesses, the service people and the organizations that keep our communities functioning. We ask you to participate in our annual Readers Choice Awards, also known as The BEST!

The Readers Choice Awards was the brainchild of Barry Anthony, the River Reporter’s advertising manager some 25 years ago. He surmised that creating a reader’s choice contest and a section that featured that year’s winners would be a wonderful asset to publish at the beginning of each year.

Not only would it be an asset to the paper with a much-needed advertising project in January, but it would also be an asset to the winners—the small businesses, service providers, organizations and event providers that give our community its character and nature. Because in the end, it is the recognition and support of the people, services and businesses that increase our community’s resilience. Most owners are delighted when they win and are sincerely touched that their customers took the time to recognize their efforts. It’s a morale booster.

In return, the validation gives them the opportunity to reflect on what makes their business special. And from there, they can further develop their unique brand that celebrates and enhances their strengths.

For the complete list of winner’s comments on what makes them The BEST, visit www.bit.ly/wearetheBEST2019.

Every year, and especially this year, the voting and the consideration of who we think is The BEST (in more than 200 categories!) gives us the opportunity to recognize the importance of the network of people, businesses, organizations and services that support our daily living. It gives us the opportunity to show our gratitude for their existence and to recognize what is working in our community.

It is especially important at this time of pandemic and social upheaval that we collectively recognize what is working in our community. That recognition helps us connect with a sense of resilience and consistency. It gives us a grounding to make good choices about how we continue to function as a community in the midst of a pandemic and potential civil upheaval.

Indeed, our ability to safely function in our social environment is of utmost importance.

Which brings us to the final asset of the Reader’s Choice Awards: committing ourselves to shop locally and to support the local business community.

The power of spending our money locally cannot be underestimated. Spending our money locally provides a positive feedback loop that continues to enhance the community. It creates local economic stimulus as more money is kept in the community. Purchasing locally helps grow other businesses as well as the local tax base.

Supporting local businesses helps create community character and prosperity, adds to the quality of life and provides a general sense of satisfaction. It affects property values and community investments.

It helps our not-for-profits. Local businesses support non-profit organizations and donate more to local charities than big national corporations. Local businesses provide jobs and have a real investment in the community’s welfare and future.

As if that wasn’t enough, in terms of infrastructure, the public benefits far outweigh public costs. Local businesses require comparatively little infrastructure and more efficiently utilize public services relative to large chain stores.

In short, they are the best for our community.

So let us let them know that, especially as many struggle to maintain those very businesses. Take the time this week to cast your ballot for all those who help make your lives easier. Vote for those who take care of you when you’re sick, or come to fix your furnace when it stops working. Vote for those who feed you your favorite food, entertain you, fix your car, cut your hair and much more.

Take the opportunity to reflect on what works in our community.

And who knows, the act of voting for community and recognizing its assets might just be the support that you need in getting through the unknown times ahead.

So many pieces of our community are solid and form a foundation of our lives. Vote for them today.

Vote for community.

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