John Hamilton

A toast to New Hampshire's small-business owners

By John Hamilton

Have you ever taken stock of how often you purchase a product or service from a local small business or sole proprietor? You might be surprised at how often you do.

I have a new dependence, one that snuck up on me without much notice.

I rely on local small businesses, including many run by people who are self-employed, for my food, gifts and services. The frozen blueberries I ate for breakfast came from a "pick-your-own" berry farm.

The gift I shared last week with my wife was handmade and sold by a local artisan guild. A recent plumbing problem was solved by a local tradesperson.

Have you ever taken stock of how often you purchase a product or service from a local small business or sole proprietor? You might be surprised at how often you do.

The reasons I buy local vary, but include "one-of-a-kind" gifts, food grown for its taste (as opposed to its ability to withstand transportation, or its long shelf life), and the value of relationships with tradespeople whose integrity and fairness I trust. Buying locally also is a way I can fight rising energy and transportation costs. It is a healthy dependency.

But I buy local not because it's the right thing to do, but because it is satisfying on many levels.

So it is with this greater awareness and a deep sense of gratitude that I raise a toast to the many enterprising people who make it possible to buy local. Some have found a way to make a living from what was once a hobby. Others jumped from more-secure jobs to build a business around their passion. I wish them success in the coming year and an economy strengthened by their keeping money moving within our communities.

What locally owned businesses do you frequent and what keeps you coming back to them?

John Hamilton is the Community Loan Fund's Vice President of Economic Opportunity and Vested for Growth's Managing Director.