Approximately 20 months after the closing of the Duckwall Store in Kinsley, a replacement, Kinsley Variety Store has opened.  During that time we have all felt the pain of having to drive 25 or more miles to get something we needed.


Over the last 15 months, owners, Judy and Chris Wilson, along with myself, several State, regional and local resource providers and the City and County have worked to get the Kinsley Variety Store up and running.  Now that it is here, I hope that we all remember what life was like before it existed.


The Kinsley Variety Store, and for that matter, all of our local business will not exist if we do not use them.  I do not want to imagine a time where I have to drive 25 or 30 miles to get a gallon of milk or a prescription when my child is sick.  We are so blessed in Edwards County to have all of the businesses and services that we do have.  Every business depends on YOU for their survival and every one of them is crucial to the survival of our small towns.


Economic Development, City government and the County can work tirelessly to help small businesses start-up.  But if they are not supported then the work we do is in vain.  The Small Business Administration says that one in every three new businesses will fail within two years time.  And more than half fail by the five year mark. 


So please SHOP LOCAL FIRST.  I know that you can’t get everything you need here, but be sure you have exhausted the resources we have before you look for that item somewhere else.  And if you are truly set on a particular item that local stores don’t carry, ask them to get it.  But remember, they can’t order an entire case of something so that you can purchase one item.  Our stores have limited space to offer a large variety and may not carry your favorite brand.  Offer to buy half the case or the whole thing if it is something you use a lot.


Some people complain that prices are too high in small towns.   I beg to differ.  Every time you shop out of county you are spending $3.89 a gallon on gas.  You will probably eat out at a restaurant.  And with the huge selection of items in some stores, you are bound to be purchasing items you really don’t need.  Add that all up and you can afford to spend a little more on an item you purchase locally.


Plus when you shop in our community your money stays local and you simultaneously create jobs, fund more services like education and health and safety services through taxes, invest in neighborhood improvement and promote community development.  Approximately $68 of every $100 you spend locally stays in Edwards County.


Ninety-one percent of local business owners contribute to their community, including schools, nonprofits and community groups, by volunteering and making donations.  How can you expect area businesses to support your cause if you don’t support them?


Supporting our own local businesses means you’re helping to secure jobs and opportunities for your neighbors, family and community.  These employees in turn spend in the local economy.


Choosing to shop local saves you fuel costs, meals, and shipping fees (if you shop online) not to mention long line-ups, traffic, weather, and travel time which equates to money saved.


Shopping local means you’re not burning fuel and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. 

Local entrepreneurship fosters economic innovation and prosperity.  The success of locally owned businesses provides real-life inspiration to our young people, proving that they can stay in or return to our community to prosper.


It is no secret that local people are caring, friendly people…your neighbors!  Our area businesses take pride in hiring the right people who are passionate about their products and services.  By shopping local, we’re giving them the support they’ve earned.


Consider that our retailers purchased their stock six months ago hoping to sell it today, pay their employees, pay their taxes, heating and cooling costs, donate to many community programs, and hopefully pay themselves.


I believe I mentioned before how blessed we are in Edwards County with so many great stores, products and services.  We have a variety of unique shops and products that are an integral part of the distinctive character of our area.  By choosing to support local businesses you help maintain our diverse distinct character.


And if all these reasons haven’t convinced you to shop at our local businesses, consider this.  When you shop in another community, you are helping to provide all the wonderful benefits I mentioned for someone else’s community. 


So the next time someone asks, “why does this town have this or that town have that?”  Think about where you are spending your money and you just might have the answer.