The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

The official student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School

The Trapeze

Shop local to preserve the character of Oak Park

I’ll never forget the day I discovered the closure of two beloved establishments: Tasty Dog and Magic Tree Bookstore. Significant moments of my life took place in these shops, and perhaps that’s true for you, too. When Tasty Dog finally closed its doors in 2015, we lost a community staple. And Magic Tree, which closed in 2018, was a vital part of so many Oak Park childhoods.

The news that Trends, a consignment clothing boutique, closed on March 10, should prompt Oak Parkers to reconsider some of our buying decisions. For more than a decade, this business ran strong, even through the pandemic. It offered sustainable shopping that benefited not only the business but the people who con- signed their clothing.

We the consumers have the power to create an environment in which local businesses thrive. When you buy from a chain store or Amazon, you’re supporting a corporation. When you buy local, you are investing in your friends, neighbors and community.

Chain stores are part of the retail landscape in Oak Park, but the village works to make sure they don’t crowd out local shops. Darien Marion-Burton, assistant director of the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce, offered insight into how his team seeks to foster a healthy mix.

“To maintain this balance, our team at the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber actively engages with both types of businesses,” said Burton, while emphasizing their commitment to “advocating for policies and initiatives that support local entrepreneurship.”

While the chamber actively collaborates to sustain the health of independent businesses, their ultimate trajectory relies on consumer behavior. Beth Albrecht, the former owner of Magic Tree Bookstore, said these choices have serious implications. “Not enough people spend their dollars in a way that is thoughtful of their community or their own best life,” she wrote in an email.

The rise of commercial business- es contributes to a “loss of local support of our communities, both financially and psychologically,” she added, “which means we lose control of our power of choice.”

Former Trends employee Jane Souders said “Oak Park has shifted into a completely commercialized community, and really great places like Trends suffer be- cause of it.”

Sustaining an independently owned business presents a significant challenge, yet it’s a choice that empowers you, the consumers, with remarkable influence. Supporting local businesses not only keeps money circulating within our community but also strengthens our sense of communal support.

When you choose to support a local business, your contribution is cherished and valued far more than it would be at a large corporation, and you can leave knowing you supported your community in an essential way.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Trapeze Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *