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The importance of shopping local

The news from earlier this week that Steak ‘n Shake, located on Fob James Dr., has closed permanently came as a shock to most people.

The business had already shut down once to revamp its serving process but that time it was made clear they would reopen.

No such luck this time.

Co-owner Thomas Bush blamed the decision on a lack of support from the community and anyone who has ever visited the restaurant at lunchtime would notice a lack of people compared to Zaxby’s next door.

Assuming this assessment is true, it paints a pretty negative picture of how supportive people in the Greater Valley Area are of local establishments.

To clarify a bit, there are a number of fast food-style restaurants that sell burgers and in all likelihood an overabundance of these type businesses meant that there was going to be at least one that would see a drop in attendance.

Add in the fact that Fob James Drive is not as well traveled as U.S. 29 that connects West Point, Lanett and Valley and it becomes a little easier to see why the business failed.

However, that shouldn’t matter. Zaxby’s is located next door and does extremely well.

What does matter is the fact that it did not get as much support as similar businesses. The residents of the Valley want more choices in places to eat, stores to shop in and entertainment to visit. If you ask anyone what they would like to see come here, you would get at least a few suggestions.

But why would any business want to come here if there is even a chance that it won’t get support from the community?

The Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce is constantly pushing its “Shop Local” campaign, an effort that should be commended.

If we want our commercial districts to grow, we must be willing to support them.