Skip the Big Guys … If You Can

Buy local. Support local. Help the independent. Swim against corporate hegemony!

You know … we all think it. We like the idea of supporting local as much as possible. Heck, I’m an independent author, so I clearly understand the appeal of supporting individuals to use their passion to survive and thrive. But it sure is easy to click that online purchase button and have it at your door within 48 hours. However, I’ve learned that by going out of your way just a little bit, you will not only support the person who needs it most, it might even save you money.

Case in point: I needed to replace the glass of a quite large picture frame. I went to the big box national craft store conveniently located near my house and requested a quote on the piece. For non-reflective glass: $70. What? That seemed expensive to me, but what do I know? Maybe that’s the going rate. I wanted to find out.

I searched a little and found a framing shop on Main Street a few miles away – downtown – where they installed free street parking to encourage the locals to support local. I decided to give it a shot. It was placed in one of those large old commercial building built with character. You know, decorative trim across the top and the kind of class and flare a big box retailer could never duplicate. The massive wood and glass door had a sign “push” on it. I pushed. Nothing happened. I pushed again and again until it finally opened. It was that heavy. Wonderfully heavy. A nod to the past kind of heavy. The large room was strewn with frames and prints and paintings and there were a couple work tables scattered with pieces of frame. The sole proprietor greeted me amidst the chaotic scene. I was glad to see he was busy.

I told him about the glass I wanted and wondered if he could give me an estimate. I said I wanted non-reflective glass. He paused for a moment and eventually said one that large would cost about $15-$18. Then I paused. That blasted big box was going to rip me off! I said I’d take it, but then he paused again, and with a frown said he thought he might be out of the glass. He went into the back and checked. Upon his return, he confirmed to me that the glass was out of stock, and he wouldn’t have it for a week or so. I wondered what to do, but then he said, “But I have an archival glass which is also non-reflective and it keeps out up to 90% of UV rays.”

I asked how much more would it be. He said about $15. So let me get this straight: I can get much better quality glass, cut to order right at this moment, and support a local craftsman, for only $30 and in doing so save $40?

Yeah. That will work.

I picked it up in an hour. Cut to precise measurements. It fit perfectly.

I learned to think local FIRST. You won’t only feel good about the purchase, it might just save you a lot of money as well.

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