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Letter: Why it pays to shop with local merchants

Original post made on Nov 25, 2008

As our budgets are stretched thinner these days and as many of us are pondering how we will manage through the holidays, it's a good time to reflect on how and why our shopping choices make a difference.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 26, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comments (10)

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Posted by Donna
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Nov 25, 2008 at 3:23 pm

I've long held the belief that shopping local and 'mom and pop' is the way to go, and have done so whenever possible. But the letter writer has summed up the logic as to WHY this is good practice better than I ever could have. Thanks, Elizabeth.

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Posted by Penny
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 1, 2008 at 11:25 am

I plan to do as much holiday shopping as possible at Kepler's and Cheeky Monkey, because I would hate to see either of those businesses go under.

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Posted by tom
a resident of another community
on Dec 1, 2008 at 2:32 pm

First, I absolutely wish local businesses all the success in the world, whether they're in downtown MP or downtown anytown USA. BUT, I have to disagree with Ms Lasensky on her trashing of "big-box" stores. They aren't evil, they serve a purpose, their business model is sound and our nation's economy is every bit as dependent upon their success as it is on the that of our beloved "mom & pop" stores. Ours is a complex and global economy--please leave economic analysis to the real professionals; especially until the crisis at hand has been addressed--and yes, I think there is some big-box stock in my 401K. That is precisely why their success is just as important as that of the shop on the corner.

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Posted by Anna
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Dec 1, 2008 at 3:36 pm

Ah, tom, the problem is that we HAVE been leaving economic analysis to "the real professionals." I agree, it's all very complex, but the crisis ain't going to be addressed by sticking with the old ideas -- conceived and pushed full-throttle by those who profit most from them while the rest of us see our incomes decline or go away entirely when businesses close. We need fresh thinking and an underlying commitment to a sustainable business model.

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Posted by Big Box
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 2, 2008 at 6:41 am

WalMart and other "big box" stores have done more for the "little guy" in this country than anyone else. Where else can you get appliances, drugs and food for those prices?

While it might be nice to support Mom and Pop's new Lexus, the goods are all coming from the same basic places, Mexico and China. Until we are ready to employ protectionist economic policy, disolve all unions and/or pay $500 for a toaster jobs are going to stay outsourced.

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Posted by Outsider
a resident of another community
on Dec 2, 2008 at 2:14 pm

If there were any stores downtown other than those that appeal to the elderly, and some parking where I would not get swooped on and ticketed, I would consider it. I see Shop Menlo signs, but unless you are going to a bank, a bad clothing boutique, jewelry store, or are looking for carpet or coffee, Menlo is not the place for you. There are a few stores worth a look, but going downtown to park to go to one store is a stretch. Bring in stores people want to shop at and the tax revenue will roll in, but oh yeah, so will the all hated additional traffic. So I guess I will see you at Stanford Shopping Center.

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Posted by resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 2, 2008 at 5:41 pm

There is nothing keeping retail stores away from downtown other than high rents mostly charged by very longterm landlords. Retail stores do not have to go through a traffic analysis. Until landlords decide to help the community and not just themselves or certain uses are restricted, we are stuck with banks, thrift shops and realestate offices in prime retail spaces.

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Posted by "Free parking"
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 3, 2008 at 3:07 pm

As business manager in downtown MP, it's annoying the untimed parking for the holidays is only a couple of weeks - Dec 13-Jan. 1.

I would do more of my holiday shopping here in MP, but honestly, the stores aren't that great - and they're overpriced. I will keep my money in the county but most likely shop in Redwood City (aside from Kepler's in MP). Menlo needs to get out of the dark ages in its choice of businesses, attracting business, attracting clients and its parking!

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Posted by curious
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Dec 3, 2008 at 5:45 pm

So how does Menlo Park "choose" businesses? What is the city's role and what is the landlords' role?
Shouldn't the Chamber of Commerce have a big role in this?
Just curious.

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Posted by shopper
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 6, 2008 at 3:15 pm

I do shop Menlo Park, and I like to shop Menlo. ANd it does have some new interesting offerings. But overall, it's a limited selection of merchants who close relatively early.

This morning I went downtown Menlo, downtown Palo Alto and to Town & Country Village. University Avenue was full of traffic and vitality; they have destination stores -- like Apple. It has parking provided by the major property owners who tax themselves to provide it. Town and Country is remarkable with it's new mix of unique stores -- each of which could have been in Menlo Park. Town & Country knows how to complete with Stanford Shopping Center.

Neither the city nor the Chamber of Commerce selects the businesses that locate in Menlo Park. That is done by the business and the respective landlords.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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