Retail leakage

Posted: Thursday, July 24, 2003

I am a wholehearted supporter of shopping locally, supporting a real human being (who may be my neighbor), and doing my part to prevent "retail leakage." However, I am discovering that shopping locally is a hard endeavor for me, primarily because I can't find what I am looking for in Juneau. For example, it is difficult to find a new outfit to wear to work or a quality skein of yarn to satisfy my knitting addiction. This gives me the option to either fly to Seattle (then I'm supporting a company which has a monopoly in Juneau) or order it online (then I'm supporting someone else's community); neither option seems ethical to me.

I went downtown shopping for Christmas presents and found it extremely difficult to support the majority of shops knowing that they are creating their own "leakage" in our community when the money that is made here doesn't stay here. I couldn't find quality gifts (I don't want or need little Alaskan trinkets). In addition, I found that the shops I knew to sell locally made goods were open with very sporadic hours - I couldn't get to the shop during their business hours if I wanted to, thus making it very difficult to shop locally. I commend those businesses that stay open for the winter and understand the need to limit hours due to less traffic, but what are we to do?

Did I mention the quality of the service? Perhaps Juneau retailers and restaurants would get more local customers if they were a bit more courteous and tactful. I attempted to boycott a local outdoor store because of the snobby attitude I received there on multiple occasions, but to no avail. I need their products! What are we to do?

I feel like our community caters so much to tourism that we lose sight of the needs of people who live here. I want to stay positive about the need to support local businesses and I do it as much as I can, but it remains difficult when I can't find what I want/need, shops are closed, and the quality of the service is marginal. What are we to do?

Cynthia LaVigne


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