My family and I have been living in Pegram for about 10 years now, and over that time we’ve come to realize that our local community has a lot to offer. Sometimes we enjoy jogging in Pegram Park, we often buy gas at the local gas stations, last summer we bought some of our produce at the Garden of Eden farm, we adopted our cat from Cheatham County Animal Control, and probably a bunch of other things I can’t think of right now. Some things we really appreciate, and I’m sure there are some great things here that we take for granted. Over the years we’ve seen a lot of different businesses come and go on our Main Street. We’ve witnessed the same thing on the Main Street strip in Kingston Springs. The sad truth is that it’s become harder than ever to run a small business in this day and age of box stores, Amazon, and chain restaurants.
One of my favorite local businesses, The Fillin’ Station, located in downtown Kingston Springs, struggles every winter. As a regular performer and patron at this venue I’ve come to accept this and have assumed it’s just part of a natural business cycle. I just figured this is the way it’s always been, business will get better in the spring and this place will always be here. Maybe this is not a wise assumption. Maybe we shouldn’t just take for granted that this place will survive the slow winter months of years to come. Over the last few weeks, some concerned folks have rallied together to try to help break this cycle. Through word-of-mouth (and a little help via Facebook) there has become a new awareness that maybe we can’t take this place for granted any longer. I’ve witnessed all sorts of people coming together, donating time and resources to improve the business short-term and help make improvements that will improve business long-term. It’s been very exciting to watch this expand on this scale so quickly.
Maybe this can be a learning moment for our community beyond the scope of just one local business, perhaps an awakening of sorts about what’s here, how we can build on it, and how this can help our community. A recent article on the website www.everythingsouthcity.com stated the “Top 10 Reasons to Think Local – Buy Local – Be Local ” citing that “several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, 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”. The article also mentioned that supporting local businesses helps keep our community unique as “one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place”. Other reasons stated were reducing environmental impacts, creating more good jobs, getting better service, investing in community, and encouraging local prosperity.
I know times are tough, we all need to save money, and the box stores and Amazon are typically going to offer the lowest prices, but why not at least explore what’s already right here? Maybe we can’t get everything out of our local economy, but maybe there’s more here than we realize. Even if we can’t always buy local we should at least try to “think local”. Take a closer look at the shops and stores when you drive through town, talk more to your neighbors and friends, try to see the community as a whole. Life could be a little easier if we just help each other a little bit more, look out for each other, and take interest in the community in which we live. If we take everything for granted, it might not always be there. Like the saying goes “you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone”.