I wanted to respond to Woolysheep's comment here, because some people don't read comments, and I think she asks some very important questions.
In response to my last post, she said,
You need not worry about WalMart going out of business. It isn't small to medium sized and they're sittin' pretty. It's the mom-n-pops and small regional chains and/or franchises. What happens if your local shops can't get the loan to buy the supplies and materials needed by your local craftsmen? What happens when some of those local craftsmen and farmers can't get the financing they need to create next seasons stock?
In today's world, without credit, your community could end up with ONLY WalMart at which to shop.
Her last sentence is exactly the reason I hosted the Break the Chain challenge. If we spend the money we might have spent at Wal*Mart, in a locally owned or regional shop, then those small businesses stand a better chance of surviving, even in today's world of credit.
But that's not all.
In response to the questions asked, my local shops don't have to be the only venue for local craftspeople to sell their wares. It is possible that I could commission a local knitter to make me a couple of sweaters and some socks. I give my money to the craftsperson, who takes the money and gives it to a local spinner, who takes the money to a local farmer, who has sheep. The farmer shears the sheep, the spinner cards and spins the wool into yarn, and the knitter makes the items I have commissioned. *I* am providing the financing for the products I will be buying.
The other question is what happens when local craftspeople and farmers can't get financing for next years' stock, and local farmers have already solved that problem. It's called CSA or Community Supported Agriculture.
The thing is, if *we*, the consumers, ask for it, someone will provide it.
Two years ago, the only place to buy fresh vegetables during the winter was at the large, regional chain grocery store. This year, because *we*, the customers at our local Farmer's Market, asked for it, the host farm (of the Farmer's Market) will be offering storage crops suring the winter. The farmer's market closed last weekend, but their farm store is open daily until Thanksgiving, and then, they're open two Saturdays in December and two Saturdays in January. This will be the first year that they've done this, and it's a trial. If it goes well, who knows what they'll offer next year.
But the point is that there were enough of us asking for it, and so they found a way to make it happen. It helps them, and it helps us.
In short, if *we*, the consumers, decide to start shopping local - more -, and stop giving - most of - our dollars to the large chain stores, just because that's the easiest thing to do, more small to medium sized businesses will thrive, even in these tough times, and the too-big-to-fail big box chains will be the ones shuttering up instead.
It really is up to us, and none of us need sit idly by while the big box stores take over our communities. *We* can make a difference, but we have to be willing to make the effort.