Businesses Asking You to Shop 'Local First'

Businesses Asking You to Shop 'Local First'

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Richard Piatt ReportingThis week locally owned businesses in Utah are urging you to remember them when you choose where to eat and shop. One local restaurant is an example of how living local can be both a 'plus' and a minus.

When you walk into the Singing Cricket, the atmosphere is peaceful and unique. But this place might be on the endangered business list, depending on whether enough customers think 'local first'.

Tranquility is a quality they cultivate at the Singing Cricket restaurant. Yet behind the lush interior and alongside the kitchen hustle and bustle, there's been lingering anxiety.

Owner Lara Kierstead said it clearly in an e-mail to loyal customers: "November is the determining factor (about whether) we will be able to keep our doors open. Please come dine with us this month."

Lara Kierstead, Singing Cricket Owner: "I need to let the community know, the people who pay our bills, that if we do matter to you, then we need to see you now."

The appeal is a lot like the food you'll get there: a personal touch you won't get at a chain place. The e-mail comes around the time other locally-owned businesses are also reminding people to 'think local first.' At the King's English book store, owner Betsy Burton says the campaign has been a reminder and people are responding.

Betsy Burton, King's English Bookstore: "People are much more conscious of what they do when they spend their money now, and with 'local first' that it will just multiply that consciousness."

Even in the face of increased competition, both Burton and Chef Lara think it's a matter of reminding people that where they choose to spend their money does matter. The restaurant's off-the-beaten-path location continues to be a challenge, but once customers find it, they seem hooked.

Suzanne Ziemba, Singing Cricket Customer: "Anyone running a small business needs the support of the community. And if you enjoy the food it's almost your duty as a citizen to come and support that. Besides, the food is wonderful and the atmosphere, it's wonderful. Plus, I feel so connected, so local."

The 'local first' campaign officially ends Sunday, but the reality about the choices you make last year round.

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