Thankful for Local Businesses

I’ve mentioned before how grateful I am to be able to shop at locally owned stores. Today was one of those days when I realized afresh just how thankful I should be. Here’s the story.

My youngest daughter has a landmark birthday tomorrow, and we had ordered a cake from the local ginormous chain grocery store at her request. It was going to be a special cake with two of her favorite television characters on it from the show Psych. We went to the bakery this afternoon to take the picture for them to copy onto the cake. After waiting for almost five minutes, one of the bakery assistants came to the counter to help us. I gave him the picture, and another employee said “We can’t do movie stars on cakes. It’s a copyright deal.” Well, bummer.

We would have been fine with that, but she rudely suggested we laminate the picture and do it ourselves. Never once did she suggest alternatives or ask if another cake might work. She never smiled. Nothing…just kept right on working. We told them to cancel the cake and left. Granted, she could have just been having a bad day, but as my almost-birthday-girl and former waitress/barista reminded me, “When your job is to serve the public, you do it with a smile no matter how you feel.”

Then to top it all off, we find the one gift my daughter wanted is nowhere to be found. Of course, it’s the much coveted and talked about iPhone 4S. When she finally decided to put her name on a waiting list for one, we find out that the other upgrade available on our account will work with ANY OTHER phone but an iPhone because of the different microchip size. Bummer again. Big business 2 – birthday girl 0.

Much dismayed she left to consume junk food with her step sister and look for jeans and pajamas in lieu of Psych cake and iPhone. My husband and I headed for one of the locally-owned groceries to see if we could find her second choice cake–one with a Harry Potter theme. The young woman behind the bakery counter was amazing. She dropped what she was doing and came out from behind the counter to help us look. Unfortunately, there were no Harry Potter cakes to be had at that store. We were so delighted by the bakery employee’s helpful manner that it didn’t seem so bad.

We decided to buy the ingredients for a cake and some ice cream and enlist the help of the ever-clever and artistic step-sister to save the day. Of course, we made our purchases at Kennie’s our locally owned market. The soon-to-be birthday girl has decided that the sky is not falling and her birthday won’t be so bad after all. Best of all, she can live with her perfectly adequate Samsung phone for now.

Oh, one more word about Kennie’s and why we like the store so much. They were the closest thing Gettysburg had to an “inner city” grocery–within walking distance for college students and lower income residents of town. The ginormous chain grocery had an abandoned property just a few blocks away that they left behind when they built out closer to the highway. They refused to sell the property to Kennie’s for an expansion. The good folks at Kennie’s did not give up and eventually found a way to remodel on their own property so they could better serve the needs of their faithful clientele.  My spouse actually did a study a few years ago and found that based on square footage, Kennie’s offers more variety and choices than the ginormous chain grocery. They also sell a lot of local produce and regional products.

So thank you, Kennie’s (and your counterpart Jane’s in Biglerville and The Rose Garden Organic Grocery in Gettysburg). You didn’t help us solve the cake problem, but you sure did try. We know we can count on you to do your best for your customers. I am thankful to be able to shop locally and support local business.

Plus, the homemade cake will be much tastier and made with much more love and care anyway!

Photo by HAPBI.org. Thank you!

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