Improving Local Economy

As much as we begrudge the Albertas, Mississippis, and Divisions for their vibrancy and access to shopping, groceries, and many of the amenities we lack in mid and outer SE Portland, we also contribute to the disparity on some level.  No, we are not in control of the environmental, economic, or infrastructural elements that determine the shape, character and prosperity of our neighborhoods, but we do have a choice in where we spend our money and which neighborhood businesses to support.  And to that effect, it is no wonder that restaurants thrive on Division, but have little chance of expanding to the nearby environs of Foster Road.  As long as we choose to hop in our cars to eat, shop, and play, our own economy will lag and sputter.

To encourage more local support of our own economy, and thus improve and/or change what we currently call a commercial district (whether on Foster, 72nd, 82nd, 92nd, etc), it is up to us to keep business moving within the community.  To encourage such local support and investment, Lents resident, Cora Potter has shared the following with us:  a challenge to keep your money in the neighborhood and improve the local economy…

“Challenge: It seems to me that inner SE, NE and North Portland neighborhoods have a the reputation being able to support businesses – and the businesses are flocking there in multiples. For example – there are 3 places to buy hand crafted ice cream in and around Williams and Alberta. Now, when I look at the actual population and market statistics, this doesn’t make sense. There’s not enough people there to support that many similar businesses. So, what’s going on? They’re getting business from outside the neighborhood, and I’m betting that some of it is East Portlanders making a trek to get something nice because we can’t get it here. 

So, what would happen if we stopped doing that and started buying locally only? Sure, it might hurt at first- we’d have to stand in line for biscuits and gravy on Sunday since there’s only one place to get it in a huge market area. Or, we could switch to eating congee and dim sum, since that’s what we have available. But the truth is, small businesses aren’t going to see our neighborhood as a viable market until we start spending money in our neighborhood and up the $$$$$ that changes hands here instead of taking it to Williams or Hawthorne or Alberta or East Burnside and creating the illusion that the economic strength lives there alone. 

So, I’m challenging you to make the same pledge I have made. I am doing all I can in my power to only spend money East of SE/NE 60th Avenue on the weekends. If you want pointers on where to take that brunch money – I’m happy to help. Bonus points for FoPo and MSA residents that venture east of 82nd! I can definitely help there.”

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10 Responses to Improving Local Economy

  1. Love it!!! Great idea!

  2. Nick Falbo says:

    Awesome challenge Cora.

    I try to do this as much as possible for goods as well as for entertainment. I bought my eyeglasses from Foster Vision (82nd & Foster), my new bathroom tiles from Area Floors (Harold & 81st), and signed a contact with the Sprint shop (82nd & Foster). … I may regret the Sprint decision, but most of the time I get the same stuff I would elsewhere, but with the warm fuzzy feeling of supporting the ‘hoods.

  3. We’ve been on Foster Road since 1948. We have installed floor covering in many homes within ten miles of the store. Thank you to every one of our neighborhood customers for shopping with us. We try to pay attention to what you are looking for and carry as many of the products as we can. We’d love to see you in the store and hear that you are “shopping local”. Lansing Linoleum company is on 73rd and Foster.

    • Cora Potter says:

      Hi Lansing! I bought a (little) piece of linoleum from you a couple of weeks ago to put under my sink. It looks and works great!

      I also love your old neon sign, and I learned about you when you sponsored Lents’ Founders’ Day!

    • Pat says:

      Wo hoo! We need some linoleum for an area in our basement…we will be checking you guys out

  4. Cora, this is a great challenge! Gemini Lounge has switched all their beer taps to beers made not just in Portland, but in Southeast Portland. There are so many opportunities to keep it hyper-local…just have to keep an open mind and be willing to try something new. I’m so hoping the Mercado happens on 72nd/Foster. Now if only we could get an Indian market and restaurant in the area, I’d never have to leave.

  5. Danae says:

    Just wanted to say – YES! I love this challenge. Dr. Nappy Lam on Foster Rd. is a great little family dentist practice, all the gals at Salon Mojo are fabulous and of course there are all the favorite neighborhood restaurants. I have been wanting to check out the new Crafty Underdog store and that one by the tire shop? The Eco Boutique?

  6. Pingback: Improving Local Economy : August 2012 - Foster United

  7. I love this! But I have to put in a plug for Carts on Foster and The Egg Carton for your brunch money. We may be at 52nd and Foster but we are still firmly inside the FoPo lines. Plus we have the best customers in town with so many right here in our hood. We love being located here!

    • Absolutely. I think peoples’ take on the local challenge shouldn’t be misconstrued so as to neglect other local businesses…and Carts on Foster is certainly part of FoPo. Thanks for chiming in and serving up those tasty eggs bennies and FoPo Cristos.

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