Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Trials and Tribulations of Getting Around Town

During this month-long experiment, I have had to travel longer distances in order to find merchants who are locally owned small businesses.  I used to nonchalantly fill up the truck only when the gas light was either on or about to come on (please insert parental lecture here).  

This practice has to cease if I am to make it out of this month unharmed.  I have already ran out of gas within the first week of this month.  Locally owned, independent gas stations are very hard to find.

(This is what running out of gas looks like as cars pass within inches of you with speeds exceeding 50mph on US-17)

Even though I ran out of gas less than 1 mile from my destination, I was pleasantly surprised when I finally limped into Treasure Food Store off 103rd.  Treasure has been by far the most well kept and clean, independent, locally owned gas station I have patronized this month.  Additionally, the gas here was only one penny more a gallon than the five gas station chains I normally patronize along my morning commute.  

I came to find out that the station's owner, Laheeb has owned this business for about 10 years.  About two years ago, he lost his sister to a fatal wreck on the Buckman Bridge.  He now helps support her family since her passing.  

You can tell that Laheeb has great pride in his business just by how well kept the store is.  Many times, independently owned convenience stores are dirty and 90% of their inventory is geared toward loose cigarettes, tall cans of single serve beers and occasionally 'smoke pipes'.  Not only was Treasure Food Store clean inside, the store actually carried bread that was not expired and a decent selection of perishable and non-perishable food items considering the sellable space limitations of the store's footprint.

Laheeb scored bonus points when I spotted the Bold City Brewery (
sign prominently displayed along the back wall encouraging shoppers to 'support your local brewer'.  Susan Miller and her son Brian Miller started Bold City Brewery in 2009.  Susan and Brian both quit their day jobs at a large corporation and convinced Susan's husband Kevin to mortgage the home in order to leverage enough money to open this new business.  Three years later, Bold City Brewery has become a genuine success store.  The entire Miller family can be seen working at the brewery's tap room in Riverside on various nights.  Locals should always help locals, and this symbiotic relationship b/w supplier and retailer keeps more money flowing within our local economy.  This is exactly the reason you can have should a big impact on our community's future by choosing to be loyal to your locals.

Now that my gas tank is full, I need to find more local small business owners! 

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