I've stopped in and had coffee at Two Creek Coffeehouse periodically over the past two years. As a resident of the Salt Lake Avenues, it's a wonderful resource. But, as a foodie, I've grown to adore their coffee and the atmosphere of the tiny, small-townish feel of the place.
Last week a good friend and I stopped at Two Creek to recover from losing and finding a dog in a matter of an hour and a half. We were hungry, exhausted and in need of raised spirits. I had their amazing Mocha Latte and a tempting and savory pesto and parmesan danish. After a brief discussion of the impending loss of Gourmet Magazine with the Barista there, I asked her if their business was doing well. Attempting to hide any alarm or worry, she informed me that they were "struggling." This worried me.
At first I thought only of myself. I didn't want to lose Two Creek's delicious, beautifully prepared coffee. But, after some thought, I realized what I had to do. I had to try and help them. I planned my attack. I would write about Two Creek here on Salt City Foodie and then brag about their wonderful coffee in my Facebook status updates. Maybe readers of Salt City Foodie and Facebook friends would patronize them and give them the business they need to survive.
Of course, this was a very altruistic thought process. The problem is larger than Two Creek Coffeehouse or my dining preferences. Small, local businesses have been and continue to suffer due to large chain companies. It's a struggle that has progressed over decades of urban sprawl and convenience commercialism. Small, local businesses can't compete with big box stores that move into communities, drive down wages and force their small competitors out of business.
I hadn't intended to lecture you all about the benefits of shopping and eating locally. But, the fact of the matter is, your purchases make a broad and lasting impact on your immediate community. The people who open and run small, local businesses are your neighbors. They live in your communities. Money spent at locally-owned independent businesses goes around longer in the local economy. Especially since local businesses pay for all kinds of local services, spend their profits and pay taxes locally, they yield two to four times the economic benefit to you, the local resident, as compared to large corporate businesses. This means more local income, wealth, and jobs.
Yes, buying local helps to create jobs. It also guarantees economic diversity, helps define a fair global economy and can also preserve the environment. Most local restaurants and service providers buy their ingredients and materials from other local providers, therefore far less fuel is used in the transportation of provisions. And, oftentimes, local restaurants focus on using organic produce and ingredients, ensuring healthy soil, vibrant crop production and a customer base for local, organic farmers.
And finally, local, independent businesses add a unique flare and feel to a community, ensuring diversity.
So, next time you're thinking of grabbing a bite to eat or stopping for a cup of coffee, consider stopping at your local, neighborhood business. It seems to me that we as customers need them as much as they need us.
Two Creek Coffeehouse502 East Third Avenue
Salt Lake City