Don't forget downtown

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Patrick Butler is owner of Purple Feet Wines in downtown Galax

In the past several months, downtown Galax has lost businesses — some that had been around for many years.
Part of the reason is the sad state of the economy, but part of the issue lies within us. One of the constant refrains I hear from people is that there is no good shopping in Galax.
No, we don’t have the population base to support tony stores or boutique shops, that’s true.
However, making the assumption we have nothing to offer is simply wrong. It’s also counterproductive to our economic future.
Local money that stays in local hands means more opportunities to hire, more potential to expand, and more importantly, a better chance at surviving in today’s uncertain financial times.
I have personally witnessed customers purchasing items in chain stores that could just have easily been bought from a local merchant.
Some of the excuses are, “it’s more convenient,” “it’s cheaper,” or “you don’t offer what I want.”
Convenience is a euphemism for “I don’t want to bother taking that extra few minutes to support you.”
As a shop owner, I can honestly tell you that such an attitude erodes our confidence. While it’s true that big chains can often offer less expensive options, give us a chance to at least come close to matching their prices.
Most merchants I know will do their best to get the product you want if you just ask them. If we won’t or can’t, then by all means, shop where you want, but at least give us the first opportunity to serve you.
Make March the month you consciously decide to visit your downtown stores. For those of you who don’t routinely shop downtown, make it a point to buy something downtown at least twice during March.
For those who are our regular customers, don’t stop coming.
We depend on you and wholeheartedly thank you for your continued patronage.
We have a lot to offer in Galax if we all just try. Otherwise, one day we may find that our only choice for shopping will be the big chain stores.