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Please Shop Local Small Businesses On Saturday

November 26, 2010 Big Box, Economy, Retail, STL Region 2 Comments

If you are like many people you are going out to a mall and/or big box store today, Black Friday.  I’m not going to try to talk you out of it, but I am going to suggest you patronize locally owned small businesses in your area tomorrow,  November 27, 2010 – aka Small Business Saturday.

sbslogoFrom the FAQ page:

What is Small Business Saturday?
More than a dozen advocacy, public, and private organizations are joining American Express OPEN, the company’s small business unit, in declaring the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday. This year, Small Business Saturday is November 27, 2010.

Is Small Business Saturday designed to get people to stop shopping at larger businesses or online?
Absolutely not. Small Business Saturday recognizes the importance of small businesses to the overall economy and local communities. It’s a day to support the small, independently owned businesses we can’t live without.Who can get involved in Small Business Saturday?
Anybody. Anywhere. Now through Small Business Saturday, November 27.

How can I get involved in Small Business Saturday?
There are a number of ways for you to get involved. First and foremost, it’s about helping raise awareness about the importance of small business to our communities. For example, you can visit www.facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturday where you ca”like” Small Business Saturday and syndicate news feeds about the day to your personal, virtual networks. There, you can also spread the word about the day and your favorite businesses by giving a shout-out to your favorite local shops and restaurants via Facebook and Twitter.

You can also support Small Business Saturday by patronizing the local, independently owned small businesses in your neighborhood. That could mean anything from having dinner on your way home from the mall during the holiday shopping season or reserving a part of your holiday gift budget to spend at a local small business.

The event is sponsored by American Express which isn’t a small business.  But I think they realize the importance of small businesses.

sbs1sbs2sbs3sbs4A good places to start are local advertisers helping to support this blog and BUILD St. Louis’ members.

-Steve Patterson

 

Twenty Years in Saint Louis

It was 20 years ago, August 1990, that I first arrived in St. Louis from Oklahoma City.  I was just out of college, 23 and optimistic about St. Louis’ future.  I drove up I-44 with a friend, she and I were going to be roommates in Washington D.C. Her mom lived in a renovated townhouse on Lemp in Benton Park, a block from Venice Cafe. We arrived on a Saturday and the next day her mom gave us a tour of the city.

ABOVE: Former fountain on Maryland Plaza, August 1990
ABOVE: Former fountain on Maryland Plaza, August 1990

I was immediately sold on St. Louis for my new place of residence, it felt right. Of course, earlier that year the Census had counted over 396,000 residents.  I put my stuff I had in her car and put it in her mom’s basement.  After my first visit to D.C., I took the train & bus back to Oklahoma City to get my car and more stuff.  I stayed with her mom for a week or so until I got a job and an apartment.

My first place was in The President on Lindell, next to Boatman’s Bank (now U.S. Bank).  It was an 8th floor studio with a view of the building to the east. The annual gay pride parade was on Euclid in those years so for me it was the place to be.  But in late 1990 I attended a seminar for developers at the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC).  At the time their offices were in the building bounded by Olive, 15th, Locust and 14th. At this seminar I met a woman living & rehabbing in Murphy-Blair; now known as Old North St. Louis.

At age 24 I moved to Old North from Lindell & Euclid.  My rent went from $425/month for the studio to $75/month.

ABOVE: My 3-room flat in Old North at 1422 Sullivan
ABOVE: My 3-room flat in Old North at 1422 Sullivan

In my first decade I saw the population drop over 48,000 people, my initial optimism was fading.  During the 1990s there were several times I considered moving. Seattle? Portland? East Coast? Sure, all were considered but ruled out for various reasons.  I’ve long stopped considering leaving, I like how St. Louis is shaping up.  Plus, I enjoy playing a role in the future of this city.

I’m sure I’ll see as much change in the coming 20 years as I did in the last 20 years. I’ll let you know in August 2030.

– Steve Patterson

 

Poll: who would you name our new bridge after?

The new bridge over the Mississippi River has been named the Ronald Wilson Reagan Memorial Bridge. Reagan was born in Tampico, IL (4+ hours away) in 1911 but moved to California in the 1930s.

In August 2004 William Perkins and Russ Reike, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, gave Rep. Jerry Costello (D-IL) petitions with over 4,000 signatures supporting the naming of the new bridge “Veteran’s Memorial Bridge”. This effort is supported by Rep. John Shimpkus (R-IL) and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. The Missouri State Legislature voted on August 28, 2005 to name the bridge after Ronald Reagan (Source: Wikipedia)

There are many others from the St. Louis area (Illinois & Missouri) that would be better to name the bridge after.  The Agnes Moorehead Memorial Bridge has some campy appeal, traffic reporters could say things like, “There is an accident on the Endora so expect delays.” Seriously, someone from the metro east would be a much better fit than Reagan who grew up more than four hours north of the metro area.

Although she was born in DuPage County near Chicago, the late Katherine Dunham often called East St. Louis her home.  The poll this week asks who you’d name the bridge after.  I’ve included a long list but you have the option to name your own answer.

– Steve Patterson

 

Some cities planting public fruit trees

Image: Waysidegardens.com (click to view)

A recent USA Today article caught my attention: More urbanites have their pick of fresh fruit:

Fruit-picking opportunities like that are becoming more common, as volunteers in cities including Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia and Madison, Wis., mobilize behind a goal of planting fruit trees on public land in city parks and neighborhoods.

Free fruit also is available for picking in season on public land in Chicago, San Francisco, Austin, Minneapolis and New York, according to neighborhoodfruit.com, a site that helps people track down available fruit.

Interesting idea, the idea of growing public fruit is appealing.

– Steve Patterson

 

President Casino license to proposed gaming facility along the River Des Peres?

ABOVE: The Admiral serving duty as the President Casino until July 1
ABOVE: The Admiral serving duty as the President Casino until July 1

Pinnacle recently agreed to close the President Casino on the St. Louis riverfront and local officials are scrambling to keep the license within the City of St. Louis.

“On Thursday, the Missouri Gaming Commission staff announced it wants to hear by May 1 from casino companies and political jurisdictions interested in the license, which will become available this summer when Pinnacle Entertainment plans to shut down the President Casino downtown.” (St. Louis pursues casino license)

Last month Pinnacle’s River City Casino opened in South County where the River Des Peres meets the Mississippi River so others are now looking up the River Des Peres for a new casino site. I’ve got word that today, April 1, a casino operator will announce plans for a casino complex near Gravois & the River Des Peres.

ABOVE: The River Des Peres
ABOVE: The River Des Peres

Do we have any casinos remaining that are located in actual boats?

– Steve Patterson

 

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