Don’t Just Shop Local, Buy Local

Recently, a lot of energy and attention has been directed here to the realm of “Buy Local,” or locally. Presented as a means to cure economic ails for struggling area businesses, let’s talk about it a little further to see what can, perhaps, hope to be accomplished.

Early on, Vero came to be from agriculture. The now taboo practice of draining swamps (wetlands) to grow free money citrus are long-gone; and prior to that, was pineapple plantations. They, alas, succumbed to canker, too. The Florida East Coast Railroad by Henry Morrison Flagler was a big catalyst for the initial burst.

The next boost came from antibiotics, automobiles, and air conditioning! Money from paradise, down Old Dixie Highway, and later, U.S. 1. Addison and Wilson Mizner were the mavens behind the 20s land boom of Palm Beach and Boca Raton. Mid-20th Century spawned new carpetbaggers, the Mackle Brothers, and General Development Corp.; huge towns out of … well, the aforementioned wetlands.

Modern Vero, economically, came to be after WW II, with retirees discovering cheap land and a great climate, and our forward-thinking planners presented Vero, and Orchid Island, as “A rich man’s playground,” riding on the Palm Beach aura. Also, Indian River Farms was having prosperity doing the agricultural drainage, further west in the county.

The biggest industry in Vero became real estate and construction. Which brings us to the subject of tonight’s essay, Buy Local. Yes, not only our land, obviously, but from local builders, contractors, suppliers, vendors, subcontractors, everything! My biggest client for over a decade was “The Best of Barber Street’s (Sebastian) Mom & Pop Builders,” MGB Construction. That’s buying local.

The biggest money expenditure for an American family is still housing, whether owning, or renting. So…. if you rent, rent from a Locally Owned Company and Landlord; and if you buy a home, from Local People. Not national chain companies, offshore or foreign entities, or puppet corporations. That’s the Buy Local pitch for now; stepping off soapbox. Oh, yes; Now Is The Time To Buy! But, you already knew that. ;)

This article originated from the Facebook group I Remember Vero Beach When and Now by Bob Craig.