Where do you spend your money? | SummitDaily.com

Where do you spend your money?

Winds of Change Books and Gifts in Frisco was born of a vision. I wanted to empower people with information.

I wanted to create a space that brought people together in enriching ways. I wanted to excite people with merchandise that would open their lives to a world of potential and opportunity; bring meaning into their lives; reconnect them to the sacred.

The vision included a healing center. My tenants are phenomenal therapists. It has been an absolute joy to refer customers to them and they have enthusiastically sent clients to the bookstore.

The result is an incredibly heart-centered, supportive, built-in community.

I believe in supporting other local businesses by not stocking what they carry, even if I would like to expand in that market. That way, I keep my inventory unique and I can send my customers to these other local businesses. It’s about sharing the wealth.

If vendors come in and I do not have a market for their wares, I suggest other establishments that might. If customers come in and we don’t have what they’re looking for, I pick up the phone and call Jolanta at Weber’s Books, Don at Book Discounters, or Cary at Hamlet’s to see if they do. Now, every one of them does the same calling me. Employees are coached to give directions, to pick up the phone and ask other businesses where to find merchandise we don’t carry. It’s how I got the store built in a month and a half. It’s about people helping people. It’s how I wanted to run my business. It wasn’t all about making the big buck. It was about providing service to the community.

Sadly, it seems Summit County cannot support a business run in such a manner. People just don’t understand the power of where they spend their money. Before the holidays, I encouraged customers to do their Christmas shopping at Winds of Change. Numbers of them replied, “Oh I went to New York Mills! My Christmas shopping is almost done!” or, “I’m doing all my shopping in Denver.” Each one of my employees was given a gift certificate to chain bookstores by well-meaning friends and family members. Every dime taken out of the county and every penny spent at mogul chains puts one more nail in the coffins of our struggling, independently owned local stores. The question becomes: What do you want to create with your money? Where you spend your hard-earned dollars molds and shapes the face of your community.

I sat in Target’s parking lot and cried before I went in to buy a printer for my business. I tried three independents before I surrendered. I needed it now. I couldn’t wait for it to be ordered. The clerk was dumfounded when I said a local computer store mentioned that Target had a particular unit on sale, “You mean a computer store sent you, not another Target?” I nearly snarled in reply, “Yeah, a computer store sent me. We are family here, we help each other out, unlike you guys!” I felt immediate remorse and apologetically explained that I was an independent business owner and was hit particularly hard by our struggling economy and that Target just represents to me all of the small independents that could potentially be put out of business. I try to turn it around and honor that Target’s full parking lot day after day is a symbol of the abundance available to be shared by all. It’s really not flying for me, though.

This isn’t about whining, “Oh poor me.” This is about dashed hopes and dreams. The bottom line is, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to make it financially. This isn’t about Borders, or me just trying to solicit business for my store. It’s so much bigger than that. It’s about where people are spending their money and why. Many of us moved here because Summit County is unique, charming, and offers an escape from the rat race of the city and suburbia. And now for the sake of convenience and “bargains,” we are forfeiting it all? My heart bleeds at the thought of this. If a business founded on the commitment to serve and support it’s community cannot survive, what does this say about people in general?

Have we lost our souls? I’m not willing to just toss in the towel but I can no longer finance a heart-centered, service-oriented bookstore and healing center with money I don’t have. If this community wants to keep its local color and enjoy the uniqueness of diversity in retail choices, then the community is going to have to show up and support it.

Our local independents are dying on the vine. Only the people who live here have the power to breathe life back into them and reclaim our small-town community merit.

The writer owns and operates Winds of Change Books and Gifts in Frisco. She lives at Blue Valley Acres in the Lower Blue.

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