Local is Best

Many of the winners of our 18th annual readers poll were small, local businesses

After 18 years of Best of the Inland Northwest issues, I still can’t get over what a bunch of food/ nightlife/shopping mavens we have for readers. Man, you guys know your stuff!

But there’s one thing, in particular, that strikes me every year — how many small, local businesses get votes in our poll. Our readers seem to know in their bones that local economies thrive on local businesses. Of course there’s nothing wrong with big, job-producing companies based somewhere else — heck, people can hardly wait for Trader Joe’s to open. It’s just that variety is the spice of life, and the wider and deeper our economic base, the better off we are. Dollars spent with local businesses tend to stay here.

As I was reviewing the voting results a few weeks back, one category jumped out at me: Best Mom and Pop Business. You’ll find out who won as you read on, but what gobsmacked me was the sheer number of beloved local businesses named in the balloting. The tally sheet went page after page after page; even the one-vote nominees represent somebody’s tip of the hat for a job well done. Nearly 500 different businesses received votes.

Aloha Island Grill. Bay Market. Bill the Fauceteer. Bruttles. Carpet Barn. Cassano’s. Chicken ’n’ More.

Every one of these businesses represent a local person’s, or a family’s, dream — of going out on your own and building something in that great American DIY tradition.

Coeur d’Alene Longboards. Dry Fly Distillery. Egger’s Meats. Fery’s Catering. Figpickels. Garland Printing. Hallett’s Chocolates.

And every one of these nominees represents a job for at least one person — and often dozens. In these times, that’s a precious commodity.

Harvest House. Hillyard Antique Mall. Jack and Dan’s. Jennifer’s Auto Sales. The Kitchen Engine. The Long Ear. Mark’s Guitars.

But the long list is a reminder, too — even a call to action. None of this works if we don’t support our small, local businesses.

Madison Home. McVay Brothers.

Northwest Seed and Pet. Pizza Rita. Queen of Sheba. Runner’s Soul. The Scoop.

So read our Best Of issue and get inspired by the winners, of course, but also keep in mind the multitude of others worthy of your support.

Stanek’s. Tacos Tumbras. Thinking Cap. Urban Canine. Vertical Earth. Vino! The White Elephant.

And next time you’re out doing your part supporting your own personal Best Mom and Pop, take a minute to tell them their effort is righteous. Tell them to keep up the great work. n

Ted S. McGregor Jr. is the Editor and Publisher of The Inlander.

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About The Author

Ted S. McGregor Jr.

Ted S. McGregor, Jr. grew up in Spokane and attended Gonzaga Prep high school and the University of the Washington. While studying for his Master's in journalism at the University of Missouri, he completed a professional project on starting a weekly newspaper in Spokane. In 1993, he turned that project into reality...