Tag: urban

Gypsy Spoonful: Supporting the Shop Local Movement #shoplocal

BUYING LOCAL IS SUPPORTING YOURSELF TOO Source: Sustainable Connections Keep money in your community. Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally-owned business, rather than a nationally-owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — continuing to strengthen the … read more

BUYING LOCAL IS SUPPORTING YOURSELF TOO

Source: Sustainable Connections

Keep money in your community. Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally-owned business, rather than a nationally-owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community. (Click here to see summaries of a variety of economic impact studies)

Did you know Gypsy Spoonful has a page dedicated to the shop local movement? You can choose to support shops located in your state, or local area

Let’s explore WHY shopping local is a great idea:

SUPPORT COMMUNITY GROUPS

Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local non-profits, events, and teams compared to big businesses.

KEEP YOUR COMMUNITY UNIQUE

Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home, let’s celebrate it! Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. It’s what distinguishes between being here, versus when you’re in a big chain department store just as easily being in the same one in Phoenix, Arizona or St Paul, Minnesota.

“When people travel they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” – Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust

REDUCE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation, and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.

CREATE MORE LOCAL OWNERSHIP AND GOOD JOBS

Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents. Let’s encourage more start-ups!

 

GET BETTER SERVICE

Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.

INVEST IN YOUR COMMUNITY

Local businesses are owned by your friends and neighbors who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future – just like you.

BETTER PUBLIC SERVICES

More local businesses mean a stronger tax base and  more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally- owned stores entering the community. This means better public services like schools, transportation, emergency response and more for you and your family.

BETTER SELECTION FOR YOU

A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.  A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

ENCOURAGE LOCAL PROSPERITY

A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character. This also means a better use of community space. Big box stores can be highly attractive but… Wouldn’t it be better to have more local businesses that can make use of existing empty space in a heritage building downtown?

THINK LOCAL FIRST + BUY LOCAL WHEN YOU CAN = BEING A LOCAL!
Outside the Blue Diamond

It Takes A Village: A Homeless Blogger in Chicago’s Wrigleyville. Meet Will from OutsideTheBlueDiamond

We’ve all heard the “it takes a village” mantra… but when we examine some of the things which are happening in current socio-political climate in America… I pose the question, do you really believe in the “it takes a village” concept? or is that one of those phrases that gets lip service, or a do … read more

We’ve all heard the “it takes a village” mantra… but when we examine some of the things which are happening in current socio-political climate in America… I pose the question, do you really believe in the “it takes a village” concept? or is that one of those phrases that gets lip service, or a do as I say and don’t do as I do things? What are you doing to participate in YOUR village? Whether you’re reading this in my hometown of Chicago, or you’re my friend Moumita across the world in Kolkata, India, I truly want to know what you are doing to make your village a better place… comments PLEASE!! Outside The Blue Diamond : It Takes A Village</font color>

One morning, while sitting in my comfortable suburban kitchen painted fun purples and lime green~sipping coffee and eating fruit salad for breakfast; I felt the goosebumps rise up on my arms as I held the newsprint in my hands.  My green eyes followed the words on the page, and a tears began to cloud my vision as I read about 49 year old Will in the lifestyle section. He’s a blogger just like me. He has used a wordpress venue to tell his story, to communicate his inner most thoughts, feelings and ideas to the world. Why is this an emotional thing for me, you may wonder? Lots of people use blogs as online journals or diaries about their lives, that’s nothing new!

Well, Will is a man who lives on the streets of Chicago- more specifically, he “lives” on the streets in the neighborhood surrounding the Chicago Cubs ball park, “Wrigleyville”.   He is homeless and has been for the last 7 1/2 years since the love of his life died of cancer. She passed away and he didn’t have the heart to go back to their apartment, and face his overwhelming grief, so as of that day, he became a resident of the streets.

He is not all that much older than me, and most nights, he sleeps on the bench outside the 19th district Police headquarters.  The streets are his home, the concrete sidewalks are his hallways, alleys are his creepy dark basement that you tend to avoid unless you *have* to go down there. The metra bus exhaust is his “scentsy” aroma of the day in his home.  He has decided the street is a better alternative than taking up residency in a homeless shelter.  Yep, there are a lot of  social services available to people like Will… but he’d rather not. He’s not mentally ill, he’s not a vagrant, a panhandler, he’s not an alcoholic or an addict~he’s just an “outside guy” so he says. He spends most of his days in front of the parking garage on Addison near Halsted. We live very different lives, yet I am drawn to him and his story.

Wrigleyville is a trendy urban neighborhood filled with restaurants and bars. Typical Chicago taverns dot the streets and public transit is the mode of transportation for most residents of Wrigleyville. As Will became a staple of the décor of the neighborhood~ soon the hipsters, students, and commuters began noticing Will in his familiar places, first they’d politely nod and he’d nod back. They’d smile and he’d smile back. It wasn’t long before they began talking to him and engaging him in conversation. He became a part of the neighborhood… a part of the village.

Just like most folks in the area, he’s a die-hard Cubs fan and says he “bleeds Cubby Blue” . He says he’s not a talker but since he’s been in Wrigleyville people seek him out and strike up a conversation. As residents began to engage him more often in conversation, they discovered for 49,  he’s lived a full life, loved and lost and he had a lot of things to say.

As the sun began to rise on a chilly morning in April, next to his belongings leaning against a chain link fence, a little cardboard sign appeared, “OutsideTheBlueDiamond.Wordpress.com ” it read.

How does a homeless man, living in the streets begin a blog? well, remember that VILLAGE thing I was talking about earlier? a 20 year old exchange student from Italy, working on her thesis at Northwestern University handed him a notebook and pencil a week after chatting with him, “You should write your story down”.  . . she encouraged him.

As he began to write and to become more comfortable in talking to more people his words began to flow…

“I realize the more people engage me in conversation, I talk more freely, my words come out better, and all this has been really therapeutic for me”

-Will Howard

The exchange student, and Will exchanged phone numbers and she then sent him some tutorials on how to set up a WordPress blog. She helped him to get it all set up, added a banner, a picture and helped with some formatting. Another Wrigleyville acquaintance designed a logo for the blog. Someone else designed a business card for Will’s handyman skills – all that he could upload onto the blog site. Will uses the free computer hours at a community center “The Center on Halsted” to type the blog posts~ of which sometimes, he follows a written rough draft from his original notebook. He explained hitting the “publish” button has become part of his inner healing.

Outside the blue diamond logo

It was in reading how the COMMUNITY… the VILLAGE… the individual people of Wrigleyville came together to help Will start his blog and in turn begin his healing process from the loss of his partner of 14 years that really touched me. It is not easy for people who live comfortable lives, in trendy working class neighborhoods to reach out and embrace a homeless man. There are so many stigmas attached to the persona of a street life.

He writes tales of love, life, thoughts about current events and a lot about his observances of common, everyday life from his very uncommon vantage point.  He says his blog is dedicated to his love, Helen.

As a blogger, I totally understand how writing and blogging can be therapeutic. Sharing ourselves and our ideas can be scary, but if you have the courage to be authentic, a little piece of you goes out into the world with each story. As I sit here and type this blog in my air conditioned living room, sipping a cold diet coke, I think about Will out there in the middle of Wrigleyville scribbling in his notebook~that someone bought for him with their own money, because they cared. I think of him walking down the street going to The Center to type it out, and maybe handing out one of his gifted business cards to a passerby. I will think of him tonight when I lay my head down on my soft pillowcase, and he kicks back on an iron bench outside the P.D. in the humidity and heat.

Outside the Blue Diamond

It truly DOES take a village, I believe in community. I believe in helping other people. This is one of the reasons I’ve set up Gypsy Spoonful the way it has been set up, with community at it’s center. Encouraging, supporting and helping each other in business~ but also in life… and although Will and I lead very different lives, I believe we’ve both been blessed and reaped the rewards of what it means to be a part of a wonderful community.

We need some painting done, I might just give him a call… or drive down to the parking garage at Addison and Halsted and hire him in person.

Outside the blue diamond

To read more about Will and to get to know him better through his writings, go to :OutsideTheBlueDiamond.Wordpress.com

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