Mike and I don't really eat at many restaurant chains. The only chain we frequent is Taco Bell. (And everyone knows that isn't real food.) We don't even really shop at chains- online or in person. Target? Of course. The mall? Not so much. (Full disclosure, we're also poor.) I even split our groceries between a local chain and our food co-op. I don't know why our shopping habits are such exactly. Since we live inside the city near a plethora of fresh food and locally owned everything, convenience dictates we stay chain-free and local. Even ordering from Domino's Pizza is less convenient than ordering from the pizza place a block away. (And less tasty.) I'm not saying we think chain restaurants are all terrible. But those places lack character (despite the apparent lack of trying) and they aren't as invested in the creating customer loyalty. Just another schmuck will come along and take the place of the disgruntled.
But lately I've found a whole new appreciation for patronizing the local establishments. It hit me today as I was picking up my lunch crepe (nom nom nummers) from a small creperie that the woman behind the counter (making my crepe and wishing me a happy new year in French) was the owner and that the tiny, lovely restaurant was her dream. How wonderful buying my crepe became. In a way I was supporting her dream. And it felt pretty good. And was delicious.
I have a dream to open a bookstore and yet I find myself crippled with fear at this next step. The holidays are ending and I can no longer use the excuse that no one really works on the holidays and I now have to begin contacting financial institutions for financial support. I've been so stressed out about it my eye keeps twitching. It's driving me mad! Not as mad as my self-imposed block is, but still pretty nuts. But today I've made the first few steps of sending emails to people I need to meet. (I'm sure emails seem like a cop-out but the schedule I keep and the total inability to answer my cell phone at either job makes email the best way to reach me and to make meetings.) This whole endeavor is pushing me outside of my comfort zone. That's a good thing, but man it makes me uncomfortable. Nevertheless, here I go.