Kueppers: Helping small businesses is no small act

Even if it’s something as simple as a book or a sweatshirt, buying local can make a world of difference.


by Henry Kueppers

Which scenario sounds better to you: 1) Going to a place where everybody knows your name? And they’re always glad you came? Somewhere that you can see your troubles are all the same… Don’t you want to go where everybody knows your name? Or, 2) Going to a place where you tell them your name is Henry on the order and they say, “Got it Anthony,” and you say, “No, HENRY,” and they say, “Yeah, no I heard you the first time, Carly.” And then you end up missing your order because they keep saying, “Order for Alfonzo? Got an order for Alfonzo.”

These two scenarios perfectly encapsulate the premise of shopping locally versus shopping with a large, commercial chain. In scenario one, when you shop local, you get respect, appreciation and love from your local businesses. They know you, and you know them! (Plus, Ted Danson works at this local bar, and that’s super cool!) Or, you have scenario two where you will never get your name pronounced or spelled right because money guzzling corporations are too busy pickpocketing the entire human civilization to even try to learn your name.

In the face of an ongoing and turbulent pandemic, our friends in small businesses need our help more than ever. Businesses on our very own campus are dropping like flies due to the lack of traffic caused by the coronavirus. Places like Bar Luchador, Gina + Will and even the illustrious Purple Onion. That’s why I implore you to shop locally and support the businesses that need it more than those monopolistic jerks who make money everytime you even think about them inside your head.

Here are some pros and cons to shopping locally:

A local business is the cornerstone of any community. They are the arthouses, the coffee shops, the local eateries that make our community special and one-of-a-kind.
When you repeatedly shop local, it doesn’t just stay professional — it becomes a genuinely personal act. You build an almost familial bond with the owners and employees. You want to see them succeed, and they want to see you happy.
What would we be without our small businesses? We would be a world full of conniving and ugly-looking mass conglomerates and corporations that don’t really care about us. Small businesses give us freedom to adventure and try new things and products versus always being forced to shop at one specific chain or outlet.

You have a good time.
You get new, unique and personal products.
You make new friends and memories.

*What’s that? All the cons seem like pros? Interesting…

Now, let’s examine some pros and cons of shopping with big name corporations:

You get to help hurt more people, like employees who don’t get paid enough or communities whose resources are depleted at rapid rates because of greedy corporations.
It is so much more convenient, which means you get products faster and won’t spend as much time worrying about all the local businesses, families and companies that are closing just as fast as the delivery of your products.
You help speed along the process of global warming (which, let’s face it, is really starting to drag on. I mean chop chop, people!) by contributing to more packaging waste and carbon dioxide emissions as your packages travel across the country.

*Hold on. Are these pros actually cons disguised as pros? Interesting…

If you buy from Amazon, you help Jeff Bezos* become the first trillionaire ever.

*Bezos is everything that is wrong with capitalism. The fact that he is able to obtain well over $100 billion dollars and continues to grow his wealth and assets infuriates me. That human version of a boiled egg has enough money to save our planet, feed the hungry and buy a hat to cover up his freakishly pointy head and unblinking eyeballs, yet he does none of these things.

The bottom line is, as residents of any community, I believe it is our duty to support small businesses. They are in our neighborhoods because they want to serve the needs of their community, aka us. They specifically cater to us and our needs. Out of respect and appreciation, the least we can do is shop at our local boutiques or grab takeout once every two weeks from the local Thai place. And hey, I get that it can be overwhelming to try and find new spots for all your favorite foods and products, so here are some nifty links to lists of wonderful local restaurants and businesses:
Here are some great restaurants, favorite spots in the Twin Cities, additional small businesses, and Black-owned businesses. Some of my personal favorites include The Naughty Greek, J. Selby’s, Colossal Cafe, Karta Thai and Brasa Rotisserie.