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think local. spend local(ly).

A few months back, Microsoft opened a huge new space on campus called The Commons, full of dining, shopping, and conference rooms. We all looked forward to having better dining options on campus and enjoying a pint or two after work at the bar (the bar option didn't work out quite so well). But it's been a few months, and I've only been there a handful of times. Why? The dining options aren't cheap, the lines are long by noon, and so far, quality has ranged from unmemorable to downright poor.

So when I scheduled a lunch at the Commons (out of convenience because people were coming from different buildings), I wasn't surprised when Mike asked why. But what he followed up with made me think a little more. He said he wasn't interested in going to the Commons anymore -- why patronize mediocre establishments that already get a ton of possibly undeserved business when there are great restaurants that are in danger of going out of business due to the economy? (His example was Suree Thai a hole-in-the-wall Thai place near downtown Redmond that started offering a lunch buffet to get people in)

I injest ridiculous quantities of data when I browse the Internet, so unsurprisingly my brain popped up with something related that I'd seen on the website of Perennial Tea Room. The jpg simply read "the 3/50 project. Saving the brick & mortars our nation is built on," and I was intrigued, so I clicked.

Basically, it suggests that you pick 3 independently owned businesses that you'd miss if they disappeared and try to spend $50 per month. Yeah, that sounds good and all, but here are the numbers that matter:

"For each $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national change, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home."

I don't do a ton of shopping at real shops, mostly due to lack of time when said shops are open, so when I think of things like this, it's mostly in terms of restaurants. Over the last year, we've seen quite a few Seattle establishments shut down. Mostly fancier restaurants, but they're still places I used to go to every once in awhile, such as Kirkland's Yarrow Bay Grill, Seattle's Fish Club, and now Kirkland's Third Floor Fish Cafe (which has been around for a long time =/). It really hit home when I stopped by Sushi in Joy, my local, friendly sushi place when I lived in Bellevue, and it looked closed. If each time I'd gone to Burger King in the last year, I'd eaten sushi instead, it probably would have helped.

So yesterday after my gym class, instead of driving to Chipotle to satisfy my chicken fajita burrito craving, I called in a to-go order at Tommy Thai, a really friendly little Thai place only a few blocks from where I live. No MSG in their food, great cashew chicken and green curry, and they have a dish on their menu called "Long old men." Teehee. Sure enough, there was only one table occupied when I showed up to pick up my order, and now I want to go more often to make sure they stick around.

What places would you miss if they disappeared?


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Comments (1)


"If each time I'd gone to Burger King in the last year, I'd eaten sushi instead, it probably would have helped."

That's a pretty awesome reason to eat sushi a lot :D

And Happy China. om nom nom.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 8, 2009 9:11 AM.

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