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Independent Thought November 12, 2008

Posted by cbuchanan in Uncategorized.

Here’s something else I learned during my recent trip to Argentina: Economic crashes may carry some long-term benefits. Seriously. It seems that when their economy went kaboom in the early years of this decade, the populace had no choice but to buy Argentine products and support Argentine businesses since everything imported became too expensive. As a result, Argentina–or at least Buenos Aires–discovered its own treasures and now has a thriving homegrown art/design/fashion community.

I’m wondering if the same thing will happen here–in the U.S., but more specifically, in Alabama and Birmingham. Instead of buying things made in China, will people turn to things made by people in their own city and state? I’ve been taking notice of our local independent businesses in the past few years–I realized that all my talk about improving Birmingham means squat unless I help support the people who live here and the city’s economy. Now I buy a majority of my art materials at Alabama Art Supply and Forstall Art Center, and when I eat out, I prefer local independent restaurants (in part because my last visit to a chain restaurant involved the Macarena!). Now that I’m thinking about holiday gifts, I’m wondering how many I can buy from one-of-a-kind businesses. It could be a fun challenge–as well as a great incentive to explore shops and galleries I haven’t yet visited.

By the way, if you have heard of Etsy, a site full of handmade items (art, crafts, T-shirts, all kinds of cool/useful/fun stuff), check out the Geolocator and Shop Local features. You can type in “Birmingham” and find all the local people who sell through that site. Pretty easy.



1. trav - November 12, 2008

I couldn’t agree more. It’s fun to try and shop local. In fact, we’re trying to make this event:


It sounds really cool. And the Eating Alabama site is pretty cool to check in on every once and a while.

See you at Greencup Books this weekend!

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