In today’s world where people can work from home, telecommute across the globe, and are able to purchase anything from anywhere with just a thumbprint on a phone, has the definition of LOCAL changed? I have not always been a local shopper and I still find myself in the mental battle of local vs. convenience/price from time to time. However, things definitely changed for me after joining Willamette Valley Bank and having multiple conversations with our CEO. He would repeatedly tell me what it truly means to be a community bank in each LOCAL community we serve. The first half dozen times he spoke about it, I will admit I was “listening” but I was more focused on getting back to my office to continue what I was working on. There is something to be said about the power of environment and culture, as it has a way of assimilating you. Over time, his words began to sink in. I started to see how the LOCAL support circle really works. It brought me back to when I was a young boy in Gresham, Oregon and my dad would choose to go to the local burger spot (Dea’s In & Out) over the golden arches. At my young age I didn’t see the full impact of supporting LOCAL as my dad did, but it is clear to me now. My dad knew the LOCAL burger joint employed people from the community and banked at the LOCAL bank. The LOCAL bank provided commercial banking needs for the nursery he worked for by providing much needed equipment financing, and the nursery then employed many people in the community. Those people then spent their money at the local burger spot. I understand this is a very remedial road map of the LOCAL support circle, but I see now how we can directly support our community. In this internationally connected world I believe we lose track of the critical role we each play in our LOCAL communities as consumers. We all share this huge responsibility of supporting our LOCAL economies and communities. I get it, we all are so focused on the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the convenience and cost of things. When you break it down, would you rather spend your money where it comes back to support the community and to your neighbors or where it leaves for other areas of the country or world? Think about where you buy your groceries, where you get gas, where you eat on Friday nights with the family, and where you bank…it may surprise you. So the next time you are headed out to buy something, or a night out with the family, look for that spot in your community…where LOCAL means something.
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