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Old 07-21-2009, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Austin
2,522 posts, read 5,397,954 times
Reputation: 705

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I came up with a oath that, if followed religiously, will help keep local Austin merchants from hanging this sign up during these tough times..



Here it is..........

" During the next 12 months, I vow not to spend a penny at any national chain, Bigbox, or natl franchise......rather than shopping at Target, Home Depot, Wal-Mart,Best Buy, the national or even regional restaurant chains(Chili's, Applebys, Mcdonalds, Wendy's, BK, Sonic, etc.), Best Buy, and all the others, I will search out local, small businesses that provide me with the same products..
...I will go out of my way to look for them, and will support wholeheartedly the best ones that I find, and spread the word about them to others.......I will search out local eateries, hardware stores, retail stores, specialty stores, clothing stores, etc..
...In this way, I will prevent my local merchants, who hire local people, and ARE local people, from losing the same...
....I will keep the money circulating locally as well, further strengthening the local economy...
..I will also discover the hidden pleasures of new stores/businesses that were never on my radar before, and perhaps even make a few new friends in the process....
I may pay a small bit more for my items, but will receive more personal service, keep local folks employed, and keep local businesses humming......when things pick up again, I will go back, and only then, to the old bigbox way of shopping........."

Sound like a plan?
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:05 PM
 
205 posts, read 548,247 times
Reputation: 75
Very noble
And anyone can achieve this to varying degrees, I'm thinking of our own situation, where we can choose to use local merchants and minimize the use of store credit - in some of those national chains - but it's really only a last resort approach when the cash has run out and we have an item we must replace - like a printer cartridge: hello store credit at Bestbuy!
I pledge! We live in a very small community, so we do support the local businesses by choosing to shop there first. Only when we have a reason to go into Austin, do we shop at national chains - Sonic is the only national chain we have and I believe the Ace Hardware is owner operated.
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Hutto, Tx
9,247 posts, read 24,175,958 times
Reputation: 2824
I did my part today. Had lunch at the Taylor Cafe and sent a fax at an independent mailing/fax place in Round Rock. Oops, forgot to add that last week I hit dog eared books, cianfranco(?) coffee and had some amy's ice cream and also the farmer's market, all in Georgetown
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
7,564 posts, read 16,885,373 times
Reputation: 3792
Great thread!

For many people who always assume the big box stores are cheaper, I'll tell you that many times they are not. Often I've found local companies with the same or cheaper prices on many items (except sometimes what is on sale at the big box store). It can be even cheaper if you pay $10 for an Austin Go Local card, which will get you 10% off at many local businesses. You can get the card at the Farmer's Market downtown, or Go Local Austin | Now living in Austin has another benefit. (http://blog.golocalaustin.com/ - broken link)

Examples -

Hardware -- Breed & Co: Although they have pricey, fancy housewares, I always go there first for my hardware needs. Staples like primer, spackling paste, small hardware, tile mastic, etc... often same price (sometimes less) than HD or Lowes. Plus, the person you talk to will ACTUALLY KNOW ABOUT HARDWARE. 10% discount with the go local card.

Books -- Book People: For new books, skip Barnes and Noble. 10% off with card. Plus employees who probably read more books than you!

Nurseries: I usually shop at the Natural Gardener. Prices are cheaper than HD & Lowes, quality is better. Never had a plant die from there. Not part of go local, but they have their own loyalty card and discount. Bag-your-own or haul-your-own mulches and soils are well priced if you buy in the 1/2yd or 1 yd quantities. Needless to say, the employees are incredibly knowledgeable about the plants and native soils... something you won't find at HD or Lowes.

Restaurants: Endless options. Check the above site for discounts. You should never be able to answer the question "Where is the nearest Chilis or Applebees?". Not in this town.

Pharmacy: People's Pharmacy. They'll fill your prescription just like the chains, but they have cool stuff in addition. Also, get to talk to pharmacists with knowledge outside traditional medicine.

Pet supplies: Tomlinson's or Bark n' Purr. At Tomlinsons, I've found many things that are the same or cheaper than Petco/Petsmart. Plus employees that actually know about pets. See a theme going here?

Anyone else have big-box alternatives? Post the big-box alternatives in your neighborhood!
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Old 07-21-2009, 05:30 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,772 posts, read 43,249,396 times
Reputation: 9351
I have been making an effort to try out different local restaurants lately. I brought dinner home last night from Tino's Greek Cafe, they have 4 locations in Austin. It was quite good.

Dinner Menu

Feta salad, Gyros, Lintel Soup, Pastizzio, Vegetarian Moussaka and Choclava were all excellent.
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Old 07-21-2009, 09:38 PM
 
593 posts, read 1,227,590 times
Reputation: 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by atxcio View Post
Great thread!

For many people who always assume the big box stores are cheaper, I'll tell you that many times they are not. Often I've found local companies with the same or cheaper prices on many items (except sometimes what is on sale at the big box store). It can be even cheaper if you pay $10 for an Austin Go Local card, which will get you 10% off at many local businesses. You can get the card at the Farmer's Market downtown, or Go Local Austin | Now living in Austin has another benefit. (http://blog.golocalaustin.com/ - broken link)

Examples -

Hardware -- Breed & Co: Although they have pricey, fancy housewares, I always go there first for my hardware needs. Staples like primer, spackling paste, small hardware, tile mastic, etc... often same price (sometimes less) than HD or Lowes. Plus, the person you talk to will ACTUALLY KNOW ABOUT HARDWARE. 10% discount with the go local card.

Books -- Book People: For new books, skip Barnes and Noble. 10% off with card. Plus employees who probably read more books than you!

Nurseries: I usually shop at the Natural Gardener. Prices are cheaper than HD & Lowes, quality is better. Never had a plant die from there. Not part of go local, but they have their own loyalty card and discount. Bag-your-own or haul-your-own mulches and soils are well priced if you buy in the 1/2yd or 1 yd quantities. Needless to say, the employees are incredibly knowledgeable about the plants and native soils... something you won't find at HD or Lowes.

Restaurants: Endless options. Check the above site for discounts. You should never be able to answer the question "Where is the nearest Chilis or Applebees?". Not in this town.

Pharmacy: People's Pharmacy. They'll fill your prescription just like the chains, but they have cool stuff in addition. Also, get to talk to pharmacists with knowledge outside traditional medicine.

Pet supplies: Tomlinson's or Bark n' Purr. At Tomlinsons, I've found many things that are the same or cheaper than Petco/Petsmart. Plus employees that actually know about pets. See a theme going here?

Anyone else have big-box alternatives? Post the big-box alternatives in your neighborhood!

I like Breed & Co. too. Sandy's shoes. And other established Austin businesses.

Bottom line during a recession, however, is my pocket book not the other guys. Especially when they want me to pay two or three times the mark up on things I can get anywhere. Case in point, eateries and businesses in west Austin. I'm thinking of 38th & Burnet Rd. Area, but it could be Lake Austin Blvd., Exposition, Balcones, Etc.

I remember a few years back going into a garden/floral place and they charged 60.00 for a book I could get at Book People or Borders for 20 not to mention Half Price Books. Its like they automatically gotta charge more just cuz their in west Austin. Sad reality is the so called smart-affluent people in those regions don't think twice before paying it. I don't know about y'all but I was taught that rich folx don't get that way by making others rich?
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Old 07-22-2009, 02:23 AM
 
3,787 posts, read 6,082,765 times
Reputation: 1753
Is the Dollar Store considered a local merchant?

It's a nice theory you have OP but I've sworn off jumping on bandwagons.

Last time I checked the people working at Lowe's were locals.
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Old 07-22-2009, 06:30 AM
 
Location: Round Rock
198 posts, read 447,290 times
Reputation: 85
I like to shop at local stores too, but the one thing no one has mentioned is the attitude that often comes with the sales staff. I went to Book People and left with nothing after asking for help finding an author and got the rolled eyes + "attitude." They may have had the book, but they weren't getting my money. Big box stores certainly have more than their share of employees just picking up a paycheck, but I guess I'd rather have them than the judgemental toff who acts like Kim Stanley Robinson is in the same class of writers as Jackie Collins.

Eateries, well we tried some of the big chains as soon as we got back, just to go down memory lane and see if the food was as we remembered (50/50 on that). What a disappointment on ambience though, "get 'em in get 'em out" seems to be the attitude; gotta turn that buck. I think we adapted easily to the slow, enjoy a dinner, European style of dining while we were overseas. We went to Louisisana Longhorn last Saturday and will return; the food & waitstaff were awesome.

As for the garden centers, I still haven't ventured that far. We shopped at Cornelius, local to Houston, and I always found the master gardners to be jerks. I know nothing about gardening, so what may seem like a trivial question is a sincere effort by me to learn. Attitude I expect from a teenage, but a oap - what is their problem?

I've yet to go to a mall.

How about some a thread with suggestions of great places sans attitude
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Old 07-22-2009, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
13,617 posts, read 30,317,541 times
Reputation: 7195
Not sure I remembe where you landed in Austin, but my wife and I thoroughly enjoy Galaxy Cafe off of Slaughter lane. Bend-over-backward friendly staff/management and local owner, and although there is not a huge selection, the food they do serve is good. It is an order at the counter setup, and then they bring the food to your table. There are no official 'waiters', but they do fill you drinks if they notice, and are available pretty readily if you need anything. Very casual, nothing fancy, but end up there at least once a week (either breakfast or dinner) to unwind. Not for everyone, but I am guessing you would enjoy it .
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Old 07-22-2009, 06:51 AM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,789 posts, read 39,682,343 times
Reputation: 24208
Well, several of those have already been recommended. As for gardening, the Natural Gardener has always been a great, friendly place for getting information on how to garden locally (even back when it was Gardenville) - I've never experienced any "attitude" there.

Been shopping at Breed & Co. since they opened in the building that used to be the Big Bear convenience store down by campus. Friendly, helpful people, for the most part. (Of course, they might be less than patient right around Christmas when they're insanely busy, I don't know.)

If you liked Louisiana Longhorn, try Azul Tequila in South Austin (Ben White and South Lamar).

One thing to keep in mind, though - sometimes "local" doesn't mean "ethical". If you notice, for example, a local company that's growing by leaps and bounds, and the way it's doing so is that it keeps buying up the competition (and/or undercutting pricing to a suspicious degree - it's called "buying" a customer, charging less than it costs you to do the work, initially, so that you can convince a customer to leave someone they've been working with), you might want to dig a bit deeper (and think about the fact that the real motivation may be to eliminate the competition and, thus, any choice for the consumer).

So, "local" doesn't always mean "a good place to spend your money if your goal is long-term health for the local economy". Like anything else, you still have to use your judgment.
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