Friday, September 07, 2012

Creator-owned and small businesses

I'm a big fan of the idea of creator-owned comics and self-published books. I love how the Internet and digital media help individual creators to succeed and profit from their own work. Apparently, that love of the Do It Yourself philosophy is starting to spill into other aspects of my life as well. Especially in regard to small businesses.

I hadn't really thought of it in these terms before, but a few weeks ago, our neighborhood held an event to promote area businesses of all sizes. It was called Night Out on East 7th Street and it was a lot of fun. Diane had a table to promote her artwork, so David and I walked up and down Saint Paul's East 7th Street with our friend Andy. Our neighborhood paper, the Dayton's Bluff District Forum got a picture of us, so that's us in the red circle above. You can click the photo for a closer look.

What was great about the event was that we discovered a lot of outstanding restaurants and other businesses that we didn't even realize existed. We've got three or four, authentic Mexican restaurants (including a bakery) in our neighborhood and an awesome Salvadoran place. There's an adoption shelter for cats, a couple of grocery stores, lots of clothing boutiques, and a place to get your printer cartridges refilled. We were familiar with one of the restaurants, a coffee shop, a print shop, and David's karate dojo, but that was the extent of our usual patronage on that street. We'll be paying closer attention to the other businesses from now on, meaning that the event was a great success.

I've always been a fan of comics shops and independent bookstores, so it's not a revelation to me that I should be supporting small businesses. The revelation is that it can actually be convenient to do that too. I just needed to have my eyes opened to what's around me.

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