What does it mean to be LoCal?

Modern culture is a bit of a juxtaposition.  We love and support our local coffee houses, farmers markets, craft breweries, small vineyards, farm to table restaurants and local boutiques.  We pride ourselves on keeping our local dollars, just that, local.  We support our local artisans and embrace Made in the U.S.A.  However, we can’t resist Amazon Prime Deals.  And Target?  Can anyone go to Target and make it to checkout with just the items on their list?  Not us!

The lifestyle of the 2017 family is one of mixed mediums.  A lifestyle that incorporates the goodness, and the movement of #shoplocal while mixing in just enough of the big dogs of corporate America for ease.  Often when we speak of an 80/20 split we are talking about nutrition-80% healthy eats and 20% living your life eats.  Though some days we fail at that miserably.  Let’s face it you can’t live your life on kale, especially when someone mentions tacos.

The lifestyle of living LoCal means spending 80% of our dollars locally and 20% with the big box stores.  When we spend our dollars locally we support local families, local farms, local schools, local infrastructure, foster local economic development and we create jobs.  In a study from Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development released in September of 2010, on average, for every $100 spent locally $73 stays in the community v. spending $100 at a national retailer and only $43 of that money staying locally. Small businesses across our great country employee over 56 million individuals (www.sba.gov) which is almost half of the US workforce.  Not to mention our local businesses also giveback generously to local/community non-profits.  In fact, the Staunton Downtown Development Association reports that independents (i.e. small businesses) donate 350% more to non-profits than national chains.

The Shenandoah Valley thrives on small businesses (check out some of our favs in the Boutique Lifestyle section of our homepage /insert link here).  From the shops in downtown Staunton, Lexington, Waynesboro and Harrisonburg; to the Dayton Market, to roadside produce stands, family run nurseries, quarries and legacy farms, to the historic Wayne Theater, Hull’s Drive In and Lime Kiln Theater the small businesses in our region depend on our fiscally local responsible spending to continue to flourish and thrive.  The bounty that the Shenandoah Valley offers is frequently highlighted in national publications such as Southern Living Magazine.  Just the other day someone asked me why this is “such a big deal.”  It is a ginormous deal because these national publications see the magic that is LoCal.  From the eateries, to the shops, to the bountiful produce our farm fields produce to the community commitment to spending dollars locally these big dog national publications recognize that the LoCal spirit is alive, well and prosperous here in the Valley.  There is a special type of magic here that goes beyond keeping dollars local-it is a magic that extends to sitting on your neighbor’s front porch with a glass of tea, or if you come to one of our homes it will more likely be a glass of one of our favorite local vintages or brews.  The spirit of LoCal isn’t just a small town, southern lifestyle fascination-you find LoCal spirit in neighborhoods in cities too.  The Latin Quarter in Paris, The Meat Packing District in NYC, Magnolia in Seattle encompass the magic of LoCal too- maybe just not with the sweet tea porch sitting magic.

Being LoCal means being proud of where you live, where you come from.  It means telling the passenger in the seat next to you on the plane about your town, the neighborhoods, the beauty of where you are from.  Having LoCal pride goes beyond rooting for the hometown team.  Being LoCal means loving where you live, while supporting where you live, by keeping your dollars local.  Being LoCal might be the best investment of your life.  And, hey we won’t tell anyone about your foray into Target-remember we are just as guilty.