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Think Local First!

As we lose yet another small business in Oakhurst with the closing of the Willow Bridge Book Store, it reminds us once again of the impact that our spending choices can have on our mountain communities.

Yosemite/Sequoia Think Local First is a campaign that celebrates and supports local economies and the people who make our community unique, happy, and strong through empowering consumers to start thinking and seeing the effects of supporting local vendors and suppliers.

Before you head for Best Buy, Think Local First! Check with Mountain Mayhem to see if they have that game controller you’re looking for, or if they can order it for you. Can you get what you need for your kid’s fall sports at Miller’s Mountain Sports? If we don’t support our local merchants, who are also our friends, neighbors and employers, they won’t be there when we need them.

Recognizing that it’s up to us as consumers to invest in our local communities will help us all begin to take more control of the economy of our mountain area. It may be simple to just zip into Walmart when we’re in Fresno, but bringing those dollars back up the mountain and spending them in town whenever possible, is what keeps the life-blood of our communities flowing.

It brings to mind a phrase from my (long-ago) youth, though I don’t remember the context – “consciously directed impact.” We must consciously direct our dollars in order to build our local economy. We put so much thought and angst and discourse into our national elections every few years, and not much changes. But we vote with our dollars every day, and those changes will be felt by everyone in our area.

Those who are local business owners know just how much time, sweat and money goes into starting and running a small business. People put their lives and their life savings into these ventures, and it is no small task. It is a 24 hour-a-day, seven day-a-week commitment, and with support and success, these are the folks that bring jobs to our towns.

I worked for 6 years in a local shop, and often had people ask me for a pen and paper so they could write down the name of an item in order to buy it on Amazon or at Target.

When they ask in the checkout line at Vons if we want to donate a dollar to this or that charity, we will probably say, sure, why not. Perhaps we could consider that extra dollar it may cost to buy something in Oakhurst as opposed to Fresno, to be a donation to the cause. And what better cause than the health and survival of our business community?

If you have a good experience with a small business in your town, tell your friends. If you have a disappointing one, tell the owner. They want to know. They want to serve you to the best of their ability.

So here are some tips from the Yosemite/Sequoia Think Local First Campaign –


-A market place of hundreds of small businesses is the best way to ensure saving money and low prices over the long term.

-Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and certainly locally, and provide the most new jobs and stable employment.

-Save gas by shopping locally. Shopping in town centers reduces sprawl, congestion, habit loss, and pollution.

-A dollar spent in an independent, locally-owned store is usually spent 6 -15 times before it leaves the community.

-Research shows that skilled workers are more likely to invest in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses.


  1. Good Afternoon

    Instead of seeing this story I would have loved to see a human intrest story on the owner of the bookstore. her passion for books instead of taking the story to a whole different level as you did here. Surely the book store did not close because of lack of local shoppers. but well due to health problems. So story is not sincere. and well that does not make good reading in my eyes!

  2. Well said. Thank you.

  3. Thank you for commenting Donna. The story was not meant to be about the book store, or say that the community was responsible. But as I was driving by, and saw the “for lease” sign going up, even though I knew the store was closing and that health reasons were in play, it made me sad to see one more business in Oakhurst closing, especially the bookstore. I felt inspired to call our attention to the plight of local businesses when we take our dollars to Fresno.

    I understand the passion Monica has had for Willow Bridge, and would love to have her share her thoughts when she is feeling up to it.

    I am just very sad to see her go, and want to invite us all as a community to think about directing our dollars to our local businesses.

  4. Pete’s Place, El Cid Sweetwater, All Weather Supply, just to name a few. People do shop local. Most of the reasons that I have seen in my 35 years living up here, is that Most of the local businesses that have closed, has been do to bad decision making on the mom and pop stores to open late and close early And only open one day if that on the weekends.

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