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Posts Tagged ‘Alexandria Restaurant Partners’

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about the virtues of capitalism and the free market versus the perceived downsides of socialism. The free market is always put forth as some sort of beacon of purity that allows the market to determine which businesses fail or succeed.

Survival of the fittest. The perfect maxim for the view we take of ourselves as rugged individualists.

But the big boys, the huge corporate entities, don’t really practice this form of capitalism. No, it’s not really the free market if whenever there is a crisis– be it natural or self-inflicted or as in this case, a mix of he two– they always have a safety net to cushion the fall. Bailouts by the bushel and the sorts of extravagant handouts that would make a socialist blush keep the big boys afloat. Hardly a string attached and, in many cases, they don’t even have to touch the huge warchests of cash they have amassed in the past decade or so.

As it has been said, too big to fail. Hardly adhering to code of the free market.

As this crisis has once again shown, there is only one real free market in this country.

It’s right there on Main Street in every village and city in the country. Small merchants are the bravest people in the business world, operating in the real world in real time without safety nets of any sort. Added together, the numbers of true small businesses make up a huge chunk of our economy and are the businesses that most of us deal with more on a day to day basis than the big boys, either in dealing with them or in working for them.

But nobody is throwing big wads of cash at these people now or, in the limited cases where there is some relief, making it easy for them to access it. No, they are out on the line by themselves, along with their employees, acting like true free market warriors.

So, what I am asking you today is to make sure that you make an effort to support your local businesses at this time of crisis, when they are teetering on the brink. If you have the financial ability at this time, please help the little guys in your town by ordering some take out, buying gift cards or shopping their online sites. For some, especially the restaurants which employ tons of people and are especially hard hit, this is their only lifeline during this crisis.

In this region, for Corning’s Market Street/Gaffer District merchants, have a wonderful program currently operating called Buy Now, Shop, Later. If you go to their page by clicking here, you can access a menu of all the shop, restaurants and galleries in the Gaffer District that are offering gift cards. The money from your purchases of each gift card goes immediately to that merchant. And to make it even sweeter, Corning Enterprises, a subsidiary of Corning Inc dedictaed to nurturing local small businesses, is making a matching donation to each merchant during this crisis.

For example, if you buy a $50 gift card to the West End Gallery ( obviously a favorite of mine and one that you could says employs me) you would receive a $50 gift card to be used anytime, now (they have a website!) or later , and the West End would receive a payment of $100. That additional bump is an enormous help to any small business. especially those that run on a tight budget but are still serving the public and paying as many employees as possible.

In Alexandria, VA, where another favorite of mine, the Principle Gallery is located, a group representing the many great restaurants of that beautiful city, Alexandria Restaurant Partners, is offering gift cards to many of those restaurants. 50% of gift card sales will be donated directly to a dedicated employee relief fund. And as a special thank you for your support, all gift card purchases of $25 or more will receive a 20% bonus gift card that may be used for food or drink purchases at any ARP restaurant.

So, buy a $50 gift card and you’ll receive that $50 card, a $10 bonus card and $25 will go the relief fund for restaurant employees who have been affected by the many closures. You can access their site by clicking here.

This only highlights what you can do to help in two areas. But there are loads of great restaurants and shops in every area that are holding on right now and need and would greatly appreciate your help, if you have the ability to spend a few dollars now.

Think of it as a bet or, better yet, an investment. By doing this small and simple thing, buying a few gift cards, you are showing faith that they ( and you!) will still be there on Main Street (or Market Street or King Street) with open doors and smiling faces when this damn thing passes.

Now, that’s free market thinking.

 

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