Where did my favorite restaurant go?

So I log into Facebook today and all I see are comments from people about the announced closing of Maria’s. Maria’s is a staple in Rockford. Its been around longer than many of us have been alive. I read posts about how much people are going to miss it or about how they went there before prom or about how their favorite restaurant can’t be closing. I remember receiving a text from a friend a year or so ago when another local restaurant closed where she asked why Rockford can’t keep local restaurants. The answer is pretty simple. If you have a favorite restaurant you need to actually go there. Liking them on Facebook or bringing that one out of town guest there once a year doesn’t cut it. This isn’t the NFL, you need to do more than root for your favorites.

I am a product of the corporate restaurant world and there are many great, local people who work in these restaurants in Rockford. Many of my friends work at corporate restaurants and there is nothing wrong with going to them. That said, remember that when you choose to spend your dollar at one restaurant/store/business that by doing so you are choosing to not spend your dollar at another one. If you want to make an effort to spend your money locally, check out Winnebago Buy Local. They have a great website that lists tons of local businesses.

There is a reason that many corporate restaurants are located in the same area near shopping – it makes them convenient. If you are buying clothes at Kohl’s it sure is convenient to run over to The Olive Garden. I understand that. But if you are making plans to go out to dinner with some friends or with the family, remember that your choice is a big deal to the local guys. The Olive Garden isn’t going to miss you – they did $3,600,000,000 in sales last year. They are going to be okay.

As the holiday season approaches it is almost a certainty that your spending is going to increase. I challenge you to think about choosing to visit some local businesses. If they don’t have what you want, then by all means run over to Bergner’s and get that gift, but give the local guys (and girls) a chance first. Are you buying something for your wife or girlfriend? There are plenty of places here at Edgebrook that offer great gifts and for what it’s worth, it counts a little bit if you went out of your way to find that special something. That black sweater you were going to buy her at The Limited – she already has one just like it.

To bring this rambling post to a close, take the time to think about your dollars. Look at them as votes and know that there are hundreds of local businesses which would love to have your vote of support.

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