I chose to move here from Chicago, because in this nice small town I feel I can make a difference in a way that’s less likely to happen in a big city. I walk to work, so I save on parking problems and don’t burn gas. I see my neighbors as I walk to work.
Community is really important to me. I can sit on my front porch and see my neighbors walking their dogs. We say, “hello”. And whenever I sweep my front sidewalk in the morning, people honk and shout, “Hey, Brian!”
I designed this business, so there’s not another one just like it anywhere. It adds character to our community. In the human struggle for community, this world of Sam’s Clubs and Wal-Marts, people are hungry for contact, to feel you’re a part of something. It makes a difference if the owner knows you.
We have monthly art exhibits and original music mostly from local people who are trying to make it. People come here to talk. I have a meeting room in back that people can use. And I care about my neighbors and their businesses. We work together to support each other when there’s a problem. I care more about the City problems and participate to help solve them because I own this business - and trying to make the City better is going to be good for me.
So, I think a Directory of Locally owned businesses is an important way to recognize the difference it makes if people support local businesses instead of chains.
My kids can grow up in their mother’s and father’s workplace where they’re learning to deal with spontaneous problems, meeting our customers, learning the work ethic from seeing us doing it – better than if you just talk about it. It’s the American Dream, working for yourself and raising your family in a community – it takes a village as they say.
-- Brian Cahalan, Owner, 49 West Cafe, Annapolis, Maryland