Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Local Matters

These aren’t the easiest of times that we are facing but then again, what’s easy and what is not is still a rather debatable debacle I’d rather not get into at the moment. Why? Because whether times are easy or hard, smooth or rough, the simple fact is that local always matters. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, local is as local does and there is a pride, a purpose, a joy to be found in one’s home that cannot be duplicated or replaced elsewhere.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love my hometown, Vero Beach, and relish as a whole the splendor that is Florida. This wasn’t always the case but years of soul-searching outside the familial nest cleared the adolescent clutter and opened wizened doors. And so I found my way back home where time enjoys a quirky flux of stillness and change.

Just as there is so much we cannot effect, there is so much we can. It begins in the place we call home and for Kristyn Lier that is Vero Beach. As human beings it is somehow in our discordant nature to claim an acceptance for change and yet, when reality strikes we cling in very desperate fear to that which has always been as we sacrifice the very change we had previously played lip-service. Right now (as in any other day) we stand on the cusp of change with fears inadmissible, leaving the rest up to the individual, you and me, how we adapt and grow with it.

But what does all this have to do with local?

Because my friends it is now when our town needs us the most. Our community professional and personal offer you and I a place and time found nowhere else but in Vero Beach. And yet I am seeing doors close, often forever, while a morbid gloom of abandonment hangs in the air. Adversity is not an enemy. Adversity is simply a chance to adapt, to grow, to learn, to change, and to thrive. We all shop at the big name stores, but by no means are they the only choice we have to make with our person and our wallets. More and more the sad tale of another local establishment gone for good reaches these forlorn ears; some with prior notice and some with abandoned silence. While not all can claim decades of my joyous purveyance, they are nonetheless a heartfelt loss.

On the flipside, I see new businesses poised to breathe life into a tired scene desperately seeking a little ingenuity…even if they don’t know it yet. I see established businesses previously stalwart in their long-standing traditions of my way or the highway listening to the hum and drum while taking to heart this new wave in the life of Vero Beach. A quirky and quaint beachside town not even 100 years old yet (but getting there – one more decade to go), Vero is still quite the babe in the worldly scheme of things for whatever that is worth.

What makes Vero unique is not the saturation of corporate conglomerate sameness nor are these bloated giants of empty excess ever going to truly nourish, cherish, and appreciate what makes us home. I am not a statistic or a market. I am me. Vero Beach is Vero Beach. I don’t want streets upon streets of the same boring businesses selling the same boring shtick I can find on any street anywhere in the USofA. Equally close to the heart, I don’t want to be stuck drinking the same old boring light lagers and quasi-craft wanna-be brews just as I don’t want to be stuck drinking the same old boring pre-mixed sugar-laden cocktails of mediocrity to go along with my monotonous assembly-line platter of similarly inedible largesse.

Flavor of diversity and diversity of flavor. A tastefully simple concept and yet so hard to find. But this simple precept was and is what makes Vero so great in that I can actually fulfill these humble desires both sustained and enjoyed in our local abodes rich with heart and soul.

And to be fair/play devil’s advocate, you decide...

There are local businesses that did not rise to meet the challenge of change that maybe possessed the ability to do so. That’s not saying all could have if they tried, but… Though I will always advocate local, it is a bitter pill to swallow when a local turns up dead by ignoring change and dismissing chance due largely to irrational abhorrence and misplaced obstinacy. Chance is something that happens unpredictably with an opportunity for purpose. What that opportunity and purpose could be is left up to me and you. That is the human factor in life, the one thing which we do have control over to a reasonable degree: ourselves.

So yes, local matters. A lot.

I am Vero Beach as much as I am Kristyn Lier and vice-versa. Change, chance, opportunity…all are pieces I embrace (try to at least) as equally as my hometown. Everywhere I share smiling faces and an open wallet, I am heartened by yet another day of enjoyment found here and only here. It can be a lot. It can be a little. It can be somewhere inbetween. Local matters right here, right now, so that I can be here tomorrow sharing in our unique family. Please and thank you.

(an original written work by Kristyn Lier. plagiarism is not tolerated)

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