This week my wife Lisa and I were dining at a local Longboat Key restaurant when she leaned over to me and said, “This place feels like Cheers.” She was referring to the iconic TV show that ran for 11 years. It was readily apparent that nearly every person that walked into the restaurant was a regular, greeted by hugs and kisses from the staff and other patrons seated around the restaurant. It was our first visit to this place, but felt like we were eating in someone’s home.
Today I want to talk about the importance of supporting local establishments and how that relates to the desirability of an area, and consequently the local real estate values.
A Little Review of Civics Class
In 2014, four sociology professors from three different universities collaborated on a research study entitled: College Graduates, Local Retailers, and Community Belonging in the United States.
The study elaborates on how locally oriented retailers are a valuable resource for promoting residential stability- and more importantly retaining college graduates. The abstract for this article states, “This finding is consistent with civic community theory, suggesting that locally-oriented retailers are a valuable resource for promoting residential stability.”
Local businesses generate 70% more economic activity than big box retail. Said another way- local, independent businesses generate three times more secondary local spending. More dollars spent at local businesses are re-circulated in our community than those that are spent at outposts of large corporations (who want the money returned to headquarters).
For those of you that are at that point in your lives that you have the flexibility and freedom to travel with the weather, I think is fantastic. I want to make an appeal that when you do come to Sarasota, it is even more important to support local establishments given the large percentage of absentee ownership and limited occupancy.
Unique Personality or Anywhere in America?
On a recent road-trip to pick up Baci, our new Bernese Mountain puppy, we traveled through 9 states. As we stopped at any given exit, it was hard to know where we were. The stores, restaurants and strip malls all look nearly identical. We could have been nearly anywhere in the US. I personally find that homogeneity very unappealing. So many places just have no unique character.
I recently took prospective buyers interested in relocating to Sarasota on a tour of downtown Sarasota during the Saturday farmer’s market. There was a charming vibrancy with people walking among the stalls of the local farmers market, café’s and shops. This was a local community in action…chock full of personality and character that make our downtown center a charming and inviting experience.
Meet us at Morton’s Gourmet Market
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Educated Residents Want a Place “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”
College-educated residents are an asset for a city. The more educated individuals are, however, the greater the geographic mobility. Cities and communities are increasingly challenged to retain their highly-educated residents.
According to the same research study referenced above, the presence of locally owned retailers is one factor that leads all residents, and particularly college-educated residents, to stay put. “A retail environment not indicative of ‘anywhere America,’” the authors hypothesize, “help[s] those able to move to be less prone to feel that they could replace their current place of residence with anywhere else in America.”
It is my hope that Sarasota also gets better at encouraging the more than 3000 annual graduates of the four local colleges/universities to stay in Sarasota upon graduation. Read more about Sarasota’s institutions of higher learning.
In order to keep Sarasota vibrant, attract and retain college graduates, and create more taxable income I encourage you to support home-grown businesses. It will improve real estate stability, support our schools, and foster a unique sense of place.
And the next time you go out… you may even get a hug.