The Root: Rooted in the community
Most of us have heard the expression "to lay down roots." But what does this mean?
To me, it is a symbolic expression or desire to make a commitment to enrich the community where we live. Moving to our community is like planting a seed here. From that seed, roots start to sprout and become established. We establish these roots by creating a home, our jobs, raising a family, attending church, building friendships, supporting the arts, involvement in charitable causes and shopping at locally owned businesses.
From community banks to the corner bike shop to locally owned restaurants, these types of businesses and the people that work there help give our community charm and character. As I drive up and down the Central Valley, my observation is many of the towns all look the same. Many have the same stores or chains as the next town creating an Anytown USA feel.
What differentiates our community from the next? What makes us unique? What feeds us and makes our community strong? It's the people, the businesses and causes they support!
When I was a kid, there appeared to be many more locally-owned businesses in our community than there are today. Quite frankly, I really miss going to these places as the customer service was top notch and they usually knew me and my family by name. Stores such as Larry's for Guys and Dolls, Bradley's, Bremers Hardware, Hal's Grubstake and Ernie's Toyland bring back fond memories for me.
The owners of these businesses supported the community with their dollars. These dollars stayed in the local economy and were not being shipped off to a faceless shareholder with no stake in our community.
Ponder this notion; are we giving box stores the opportunity to increase market share and enhance stock value to the ultimate detriment of our community and its people? Do we, as a society, really give much thought to where products come from and the affects that may have on our success?
I like to think each one of us is like a tree in the community. The longer we are here, the stronger and deeper our roots grow and become established. If we take care of the trees in our community, we can and will continue to prosper.
Yes, there will be storms that will try to blow us over once in a while. However, with strong roots we can endure the passing winds and in turn be stronger in the end. In fact, sometimes storms will give us new perspective and empower us to be better stewards in our community.
One thing we may not place enough importance on is supporting and nurturing all of the roots to grow. In our town, I watch so many people spend countless hours on the road and money on fuel to leave our roots only to nurture another community's root system.
Shop and support local businesses so that our trees may continue to grow.