This post comes from Lisa O’Brien, owner of Underwired Vintage on South Side Bethlehem. Lisa writes a hilarious and brilliant blog that chronicles her clothing and her shop, which you can read HERE. Recently she wrote this beautiful post that captures the soul of the ever-growing collection of small businesses in the Valley.
…Today’s post is about more than clothing. It is about the strength and importance of your local business owners. Sharing the store with other vintage sellers and artists for my last few events has been a real treat, and has given me the opportunity to learn more about other people’s lives, challenges, and successes. Several interesting conversations that I’ve had this week have inspired this post. Some of my own standard dumb jokes have also inspired this post.
I often like to joke and say that I’m lazy or pretend that on my days off I just spend hours rolling around in a sea of cats. While saying those things is silly and harmless, I was thinking last night that it is important to talk about the work and love that goes into owning and nurturing a business. Sometimes it’s important to be serious and tell the truth and not just make jokes about cake and kittens (although, if I couldn’t joke about food and critters I’d be a lot less happy).
A friend and I were discussing the difference in price between independent shops and big box stores. I was trying to explain the huge benefit you receive at a locally run business, even if you pay a little more, and I think I was finally able to focus my point:
Aside from personalized customer service and superior product quality, the real benefit you receive from your locally owned businesses is a great place to live. These little gems in your town make your town worth living in. They make your city an interesting and vibrant place to be. They make your home a place to be proud of, so you don’t have to say “yeah, my home is boring, so I have to go to [insert city here] for fun.”
No chain store on Earth can give your hometown a distinct, unique personality. It’s the small businesses, run by your neighbors, that ARE your city. That said, running these businesses, although rewarding and fun, is hard work. Every entrepreneur I know pours their heart and soul into every aspect of their job, and lives to make their shop/cafe/salon/restaurant/gallery a better place for people to shop, eat, learn, get gorgeous, meet people, and thrive. Our days on and off are spent figuring out new ways to enhance your experience with us, or plan fun events, or search out products we think you’ll love, or improve upon what we have.
We do this for ourselves, and for you, and for the community we share. If not for the businesses you know and love, there would be no real city to speak of. The fellow businesses owners I have had the pleasure to get to know over these past few years are fantastic and amaze me every day with their passion and hard work. So be sure to give your favorite business owners a visit and/or a hug. ‘Cause we love ya! Below is a list of links to some of my favorite places. Enjoy!
Lisa’s List of Favorite Small Businesses
Blue Sky Cafe
The Moravian Book Shop
Lux: the Eco-Friendly Salon
Home & Planet
Lisa’s entire amazing outfit came from small businesses. Dress from Caleigh’s Closet. Earrings by Lalala accessories. Underwired Vintage is located on 337 Vine St, Bethlehem and you can LIKE it on Facebook as well as get updates about events and weekly craft nights.