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Let's Talk About Local

This time of year, we are inundated with marketing and messaging about what we should buy for Christmas gifts. We can't escape it- it's on TV, in our newspapers, on signage we see driving down the road, and most of all, online. We may not even be aware of it anymore in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

So when we ask you to support local, shop local, eat and drink local, we know that ours is just one in a million messages you might hear that day. We ask anyway, because it's important, because it's vital, because it affects you and all of us more than we know.

Why support local? Why should you make a trip to a local boutique when you can order online and have it arrive at your doorstep in 2 days? Why should you eat at a local restaurant or drink a locally brewed beer when you could go to the chain restaurant or pick up a 6 pack made 1000 miles away and maybe save a few bucks?

We understand that it's not always the easiest way to shop or dine when you chose a local establishment. However, the value of doing so FAR outweighs any possible savings you might see from choosing a non-local business.

1. When you buy a product made locally, the business you buy from can, in turn, spend their money locally. At Engrained, this means that we can buy produce and meat from local farmers. We can have our signs and brochures made by local graphic designers and printed at the local print shop. We can offer wine made just down the road. Our computer systems can be supported by a local IT company. Our tshirts can be made at a local shop. On and on it goes, and the chain reaction of us supporting local businesses allows them to do the same.

2. Businesses located in our community are more likely to support charity efforts that benefit the people who need it most right here. Eating and drinking locally at Engrained, for example, allows us to have a program like our Donation Creation, where we work with a different local nonprofit every month. We can support the education of our children at local schools. We're able to donate when organizations ask us for items for their auctions and events, which in turn helps them to fund programs for homeless children, increase availability of nutritious food for families, find homes and care for abandoned and abused animals, provide adoption and foster care services for children, promote and increase local food, provide arts opportunities, and so many more much appreciated efforts being made right here in Springfield to improve the quality of life for those living here. That's just good karma!

3. Eating local food not only economically supports local growers and artisans, it tastes better and is better for you. Produce that travels hundreds or thousands of miles from the field to your shopping cart has to be harvested before it's ripe in most cases, which impacts the flavor tremendously. Many times, it has to be treated with chemicals or preservatives so that it can make the long journey. Fruits and vegetables grown seasonally and harvested at the right time have a higher nutrient content as well.

4. Shopping local means you will get better care and service. No one cares about their

product more than the person who made it, and when you buy local, you can actually meet that person and trust that they put the utmost energy and love into the item you're buying. That means, most of the time, you're buying a product far superior than you could get online or in a chain store. Life is about relationships, and supporting local is a wonderful way to get to know the people in your town who will be here for the long term, sending their kids to school with yours, attending the same events, cheering on the high school football team.

We want Springfield to be a thriving community not only for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren. If there are economic opportunities for future generations in our community, they are more likely to stay in Springfield and continue the work started years ago to make this a unique and attractive place to live and work. We know that you have a lot of choices about where you can shop and dine, and we thank you for your support this holiday season!

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