While walking along downtown Augusta’s main artery, I noticed a closing sign for the new vintage store Revolve, the long standing Cloud Nine, and the trendy Blue Magnolia. This is why now more than ever it is important to buy local products and support local downtown businesses, and teens (who have more expendable income than other age groups) can be one of the most helpful age groups.
The majority of businesses that open shop downtown are locally owned and operated. Often, the owners populate downtown itself. The sense of community and identity these businesses create for the commercial core of Augusta is important not only to downtown business owners but to every resident of its surrounding areas.
Downtown Augusta serves as the face for the region and is home to many of our cultural institutions. When tourists visit Augusta, it is by the vitality of downtown they judge the excitement of the city. Because of this, teens and adults alike should aim to support local downtown businesses.
Supporting local businesses applies directly to anyone seeking charity, donations or support. I just completed my senior project. As part of the project, I had to accumulate both monetary and in-kind sponsorships with area businesses. The majority of the event’s sponsors were locally-owned businesses. National chains for the most part required a lengthy process of contacting corporate offices.
It seems as if the businesses that are most connected to the community are the businesses that are most likely to give back. In tough economic times, I find it easier to contribute to businesses that are owned by fellow Augustans and directly effect what my hometown’s city center looks like.
I urge Augustans (especially teens) to frequent locally owned downtown shops and restaurants to prevent another closing sign hung on a downtown business door.
Teen Board Member Michael Ryan is a senior at Greenbrier High School