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    Saturday, September 24, 2022

    Benny's will soon only exist in our dreams

    When my niece (now a candidate for a master’s degree in teaching in Hawaii) was in preschool, she went off to sleep one night saying, "I dream of Benny's." Of course she did, it was a rare bastion of abundance, service and consistency.

    And it will soon be a dream for all of us, as well.

    Was the closing of the Benny’s chain inevitable? Probably.

    Retail has its cycles -- we lost main streets to malls, then malls to mega-retailers, and now we are losing big boxes to the Amazons.

    However, this process is not out of our hands, it's actually in your hand right now, likely on the smartphone you are holding. I’m speaking of your Amazon app, or your other apps that make it possible to state with pride, “I did all my shopping online this year.”

    Well, in reference to the dream of my niece, “Wake up, people!”

    Brick and mortar stores that are located in your zip code contribute a little thing called taxes. When these storefronts go, so to do their tax contributions And who is left to carry the balance? Prime-arily you (pun totally intended).

    If that's not enough to stop you from saving 45 cents by buying online, here's more:

    Where are your young people going to get their all-important first job experiences?

    When was the last time you saw a Vista-print ad on a banner at the neighborhood Little League field?

    And show me one local plaque at any nonprofit that says, "Made possible due to the generosity of Home Shopping Network.”

    I'm in marketing and I'm well-aware that to fight a market trend is as foolish as trying to push a sumo wrestler out of the ring. However, I also know that consumers are awakening. From an awareness of fresh, and small business Saturdays to yes, our current budget disaster, we have had our eyes held wide open.

    So, is there a point to this rant? Is this another plea to "support local?" No, it’s not, because I'm not sure the relationship between the shopping local mantra and the direct benefit to consumers is clear enough.

    Therefore, here’s my alternative bottom line. If you want your schools to have funding. If you want fire trucks to save your homes. If you want your nonprofit to survive and your children to have places and reasons to put their phones down and for the fragile elderly to have meals delivered to their doors, then buy at least 50 percent of your goods in the zip codes you call home.

    Honestly, my beloved friends, do anything less and the alternative is simply — a nightmare.

    Maria Miranda is the Creative Director of Miranda Creative, Inc., as well as a lecturer, volunteer and board member with a number of community organizations. In 2013, she was named Citizen of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut. This commentary was originally written as a personal Facebook post.

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