The last part of August saw a lot of buzz around the City of Oakdale, as two major businesses finally completed construction and opened their doors for business.
As the business reporter, I was pleased and excited for the community after meeting with the management staff of both Huckleberry’s Restaurant and Dutch Bros Coffee. Both company representatives had shared they’d hired a number of their staff from our own community. A fact I find important as new business doesn’t always bring increased city revenue just via tax dollars, but job opportunity as well.
As the weeks played out, it was nice to see and hear all the positive feedback from friends and community members throughout town. Both businesses seem to have filled a niche which many are pleased with.
As the holiday weekend came to a close, I learned of the closing of Kmart. A void which will be significant for a number of reasons once its doors close in December.
In truth, my first thought went to the Oakdale Lions Annual Holiday Shopping Spree. While Kmart is indeed a chain store, it has been a gracious supporter of this event since its inception. That’s pretty special in my opinion. Any shopper that has ever witnessed the way this store catered to the shopping spree can attest to the hospitality the big box store shows the Lions Club and its shoppers.
Then there’s the obvious job loss for a lot of locals who have spent the better part of close to three decades in the east end shop.
While not a regular Kmart shopper myself, I can say I’ve always been grateful for its help in a pinch. The moment I realize I need something at the last minute, anything from a picture frame to a white shirt for choir – quick trip to Kmart.
Shopping local is about so much more than tax revenue, it’s about supporting families, community members that we know. Be it a franchise business or a mom and pop shop, supporting local business transcends bigger when locals have vested interest.
It’s honestly no different than supporting the local newspaper.
I still recall a time several years ago, when management here at The Leader made some choices community members did not approve of. As a long-term employee was “downsized,” I began hearing the grumbles of the community. A highly regarded Oakdale community member, released of their services did not go over well.
During this time, I had a friend share it was only because of those of us left (other community members) that she did not pull all her ads and cancel her subscription.
“You all still need your jobs,” she said.
That’s what supporting local business does; it supports employment of your kids’ friends’ parents or a student trying to save for a car or pay for college. In short it takes care of your own, your community.
It’s a tough one though, right? Now living in a time when just about any and everything we want can be found on the internet and at our home within hours, what’s one to do? I’m fearful for where this is headed. As delivery jobs/services increase in demand, the local business owner works to pay their expenses.
Perhaps the transition of the coming and going of the above mentioned businesses is our reminder as a community. A large part of what makes this town not just unique but special is the businesses which support our local sports teams, service clubs and school sites – a delivery truck can’t do that.
So here’s our call to be present and supportive of our neighbors and businesses of the 95361. The places we get to have human interaction on occasion and be thanked, as well as greeted for choosing to shop local.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.