SBJ graphic by Amanda Miller

Get Back in Habit of Shopping, Dining Locally (Sponsor Letter)

SBJ Economic Growth Survey: Shifting Behaviors

Posted online

Have you ever tried to make or break a habit? It’s not easy. Research varies on how long it actually takes for a new behavior to become automatic, but many commonly agree it takes around 30 days.

Sometimes, those new habits are thrust upon us. On March 26 this year, Springfield went under a 30-day stay-at-home order in response to the first local cases of coronavirus that restricted public movement to essential activities like picking up groceries and going to the doctor.

Restaurants and retailers were not ordered to shut down, but they could not operate as usual with some shifting quickly to curbside service and others shuttering temporarily because they simply could not balance the reduced demand, higher food costs and overhead of employees. Now, six months later, stay-home orders have been lifted, but Springfield restaurants and retailers continue to operate under capacity restrictions.

Unfortunately, many of us fell out of the habit of frequenting local establishments.

Our restaurants and retailers need us now. What they need from us isn’t pity or handouts; they simply need us to bring back our business. It is time for us to get back into the habit of dining and shopping locally.

Our eclectic mix of local restaurants and shops is critical to our quality of life. It’s one of the reasons people stay in Springfield for the long term. Having a wide variety of retail and dining options that help retain and attract companies and workers is critical to the economic growth of our community.
Take advantage of our temperate fall days and spend a Saturday afternoon at a local restaurant or brewery patio. Or pick up a meal curbside, and visit our beautiful and welcoming parks for a picnic. Peruse our unique boutiques, antique and thrift shops. Many of these businesses are hanging on by a thread right now, and neither our community nor our economy can afford to lose them.

These are the establishments where we celebrate our anniversaries and graduations and buy the birthday gifts that help us make treasured memories. They are also the businesses that make Springfield memorable.

So, please join me in selecting at least one day a week dedicated to shopping and dining locally. Let’s revive the habit of patronizing our local restaurants and retailers now when they most need our support.