Last week the Gazette published a story about Island Entertainment moving across the street to save on rent. Other than this nod to the current difficult climate for video stores, the business looks to be in good health.
This summer the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore moved across the street for similar reasons and reported an increase in sales of twice the previous summer. Edgartown Books, which nearly closed down last year, was resurrected at the last minute.
There are also two local newspapers on this Island. It is as if the Vineyard has become a last stand for the brick and mortar economy, a place where knowing the person you are buying from still matters. While most of these businesses also engage in digital commerce, the texture and feel of their products remains prominent.
Small businesses, often referred to as Mom and Pop stores, also abound on the Island, from hardware stores to pharmacies to handmade watches and car mechanics; the list is long. In an age where chain stores devour smaller competitors without compunction and corporations are ruled as individuals, small businesses are really those with a face and they often carry the name of one’s neighbor.
This past week Tisbury selectmen voted to keep their tax rates the same after the decision last March to stop shifting the tax burden from residents to businesses, saying, essentially, what’s good for commerce is good for the Island.
Those who, like us, celebrate the idea of locally-grown in more than just agriculture can take a stand as the nationwide rush to holiday shopping begins again with feverish intention, not on Black Friday, as in years past, but in most states this year on Thanksgiving Day.
“We all know that everybody gets burned out on turkey and football,” said Troy Rice, chief of store operations for Toys R Us in USA Today. Do we also get burned out on family time, too?
Thanks to blue laws, Massachusetts shoppers will have to wait until Friday morning at 1 a.m. to open their wallets. The lure of a sale is understandable, particularly if it means the difference in a cash-strapped year between presents under the tree or not. But in general, Islanders might want to wait until Saturday, small business Saturday at that, and spend their money closer to home. It is sure to come back to you some way or another.