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The Hierarchy of Shopping

The Hierarchy of Shopping

We love our communities and our local businesses.

I know you do too.

And one of the top ways to support what we love is by shopping locally.

It’s a message that matters every day. But it’s especially timely today, the start of the annual two-day blitz by a certain mammoth e-commerce retailer (no need to mention its name, but it rhymes with rhyme), featuring all those price-busting deals.

Yes, it's easy. And cheap.

But those “rhyme day” deals (why do they call it “day,” when it’s two “days”?) come at a big cost to our independent merchants and even our locally-based chain shores. 

That one online company’s sales accounts for half of all U.S. online retail sales (and retains some 30% of our purchase price). Yet three times more money returns to our local economy when we shop locally.

That's why we need the 'Hierarchy of Shopping'

Yes, it’s not always easy finding what you need locally.

But in the spirit of supporting what we love (and maybe sending fewer trucks down our streets and eliminating forests of boxes and piles of plastic mailers) try adhering to the "Hierarchy of Shopping," suggestions from the talented team at Love Live Local in Hyannis (with a few modifications from me):
  1. Think independent first: You might have to step outside of your usual go-to's or cross town lines, but most needs can be met right here at home or nearby. (Explore our chamber member directory here.)

  2. Shop at a chain: Chain stores employ locals who contribute to our community and local economy and pay local property taxes and rent, so, they should be your next stop. And if you can find one that's based in Massachusetts or New England, even better (so, for example, there are several big box stores on Needham Street, operated by a Framingham company).

  3. Shop online with a small retailer or brand: These businesses are local businesses in another town or city, so they need support too. Often you can find cool things or useful services through an internet search or by consulting a third-party platform. Then skip the mega middle-man and head to that small business's website to place your order!

  4. Cry ‘uncle’ and give in if you truly need it: Review steps one to three one final time. Then turn to those large corporate retailers, delivery apps, service providers, and e-commerce platforms as a last resort.

Shop with your values. Vote with your wallet. Shop locally, today, and every day.

But here are some things you may not be able to buy in Newton

While you may prefer to shop locally, if some members of the Newton City Council have their way, soon you will not be able to shop locally for helium-filled balloons, floss sticks, plastic ear swabs, balloon sticks, or cosmetics containing plastic glitter.

Of the many thousands of plastic items in the universe, those items would be banned from local sale under Newton's proposed plastic reduction ordinance (starts on page 11)
It’s not clear why those items were chosen. And, as I've said before, my dentist won't be happy about the floss stick ban. 

But yes, you’ll still be able to get one of those gray trucks to drive down your street and bring ear swabs to you ensconced in one of these.

The council's Programs & Services committee will discuss the ordinance (which also bans some types of restaurant take-out containers but has dropped a proposed single-use plastic water bottle ban) tomorrow (Weds) at 7 p.m.

Inside today's grab bag

  • The Healey administration has launched new initiatives designed to expand opportunities for LGBTQ and disability-owned businesses. A new interactive online map was also implemented to help state agencies, cities, towns, and contractors identify certified diverse business partners. Details.
  • Broder is hosting two public meetings to review and discuss modifications to its proposed project at the former J.C. Cannistraro site in Watertown. The first will be in person on July 17 at 6 p.m. with a virtual Zoom session on July 18 at 6 p.m. March meeting video here. (Watertown News).

  • Charles River Watershed Association hosts walking tour along Fuller Brook, a recently restored tributary of the Charles River in Wellesley, Thursday (July 13) at 10 a.m.. Guides will discuss interventions made to naturalize the stream channel, restore native plant communities and reduce stormwater pollution and discuss CRWA's ongoing stream restoration work.

  • Here’s an idea: Parking meters in Salem are now free for anyone with a veteran license plate. The city made the change last week after a Purple Heart recipient got two parking tickets in a short amount of time. (WBUR)
  • The City of Watertown and WBC presents another in its Walk N Talk series, this time exploring the historic Perkins School for the Blind campus, Thursday (July 13) at 10 a.m. Details.

  • Enforcement of a new Massachusetts law that will put restrictions on the sale of bacon, ham, chops, ribs, roasts, or cutlets made entirely of pork was supposed to start tomorrow. But it's been delayed by court order until Aug. 31 to avoid market disruption while the pork producers adapt to the regulations. (Mass Restaurants Association) 

  • One of summer’s best annual events, the St. Mary of Carmen Society Festival starts tomorrow (Weds) through this Sunday, culminating with the traditional candlelight procession. The 88th annual ‘Festa’ is held annually at Pellegrini Park in Nonantum. See you there.

Does Needham have parking problem? 

Not according to a new study.

A parking occupancy analysis carried out by consulting company, Stantec shows that during peak hours, only 60 to 75% of parking spaces in Needham Center are occupied, while Needham Heights has a 50% occupancy rate.

Yuxiao Yuan at Needham Local explains.

West Newton Cinema campaign continues 

With just over a year to go, the nonprofit foundation working to raise $5.6 million to purchase the West Newton Cinema by August of 2024 has so far raised about $1 million towards its goal, West Newton Cinema Foundation Co-director Susan Bernstein tells Boston 25 News.
Learn how you can help here

Pop Quiz: Name this multi-millionaire 

Do you know the name of this big earner who did the math when considering a $54 million job offer in Dallas? Even after his Boston-based employer was willing to match his Dallas offer, he determined that he'd do a lot better financially in Texas.

“In Boston, it’s really like $48 million with the millionaire’s tax, so $54 million in Dallas is really like $58 million in Boston," he said.

Sure, he’s just one guy in a unique job and Joe Mazzulla didn't appreciate him. But in total, Massachusetts lost around 4.3 billion in 2021 in adjusted gross income to out-migration in 2021, according to Axios. More than 60% of that lost wealth came from those earning $200,000 or more annually, according to Pioneer.

All told Six southern states now add more to the national GDP than the Northeast, the perennial powerhouse.

Look ma! Even more new chamber members! 

Finally today, in Friday's newsletter, I shared a list of 32 new chamber members. Turns out, we missed 18 others. So please join us in also welcoming...

Everything you need to know about joining our more than 900 member companies and nonprofits can be found here or by emailing us.

And here's an extra bonus for all our future members: Join the chamber this week and we'll give you a free ticket to next Thursday's (July 20) Summer Members Celebration on the Wellesley College campus.

And that's your need to knows for today, unless you need to know how scientists saved the holes in Swiss cheese.

Be back in your inbox on Friday.

Greg Reibman (he, him)
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