With the presidential election looming most people are myopically focused on voting for president, but the second most important vote you can make right now is with your dollars. Times are tough and not all businesses are going to survive this recession. Already this month several notable Portland restaurants have announced that they are shuttering their doors (Rocket, Mercado, Banh Cuon Tan Dinh and Kalga Kafe) and more are soon to follow.
The dollar may be down on the world market, but it’s never been stronger here at home. With each dollar you spend you are making a vote, you’re voting for the business that you give your money to and perhaps voting against the places you aren’t. During tough economic times people often default to the lowest cost option out there. Companies like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart thrive because people think they get more for less there – something in tough times sounds appealing. If this current economic mess has taught us anything it’s there’s absolutely no such thing as a free lunch and today’s low low deal might have some unintended consequences tomorrow.
So I encourage you to think about the long haul. Want a beer? Skip Rock Bottom Brewery and pick your beer up at Belmont Station. Want a movie? Rather than Netflixing it ensure the future of independent cinema and local art houses and catch a movie at the Hollywood Theater or Cinema 21. Want some food? Support local farmers at your local farmer’s market or visit the People’s Food Coop Farmer’s Market. Chose Voodoo Doughnuts over Krispie Kreme, Laughing Planet or Los Gorditos over Taco Bell, Pad Thai Kitchen over TGIFridays…. and yes Stumptown, Cellar Door and Z Beans over Starbucks.
There’s never been a time in your life where what you spend and where you spend has mattered more. So pick the places you love and give them your business, odds are they’ll be around to thank you when this whole economic mess is all over.
What local business are you rooting for to survive?