Pappas Grocery Store
I’m writing this on “black friday”, the term coined for the day after Thanksgiving when masses of people barrel through the aisles of Wal-Marts and Targets nationwide akin to Pamplona’s running of the bulls. I can’t imagine any sort of satisfaction or thrill that derives from pushing stretch pants clad shoppers aside while tussling over the last Tickle Me Elmo. For me the ideal time to visit the mall or Home Depot is any weeknight one hour before closing. Empty aisles, ample staff, and no one tailgating my heels with a cart.
While the big box stores are raking in millions today, consider the small businesses in your area. Everyone has a nearby independent ethnic restaurant in a strip mall, or a neighborhood hardware store. I go out of my way to support small businesses, and find the rewards are returned and well worth it.
One such business I frequent is Pappa’s Grocery Store, located in the Congress Park neighborhood of Denver on East 12th Avenue and Elizabeth Street. Earlier this year Shawn and Stephanie purchased the establishment from the previous owners, and the change in this small store has been overwhelming. They’ve created a deli, improved the produce selection and quality of vegetables, and added a small post office in the back of the store. For Denver visitors they’re just four blocks from the Botanic Gardens, on the same block as Zorba’s Greek Restaurant.
I make it a point to visit them often. To have small retailers like these within a few blocks of home is a valuable community commodity. These types of businesses complement, not complete with the large Safeway and Kroger stores. Each offers a different service and each has their place. I often visit Pappas on the way home from work for poultry, dairy, and miscellaneous cooking items. I make larger bulk purchases at my larger grocer. Of course being a smaller independent retailer you many pay a bit more, but I’ve found overall their prices are only a modest percentage higher than my nearby King Soopers (Kroger) store. In many instances the price is worth the convenience, and they offer daily specials as well.
As noted with my “shopping” posts below, too many people tend to ONLY be concerned with price. Quality is becoming an afterthought when making a purchase. What’s the point of buying a $20 DVD player if you have to purchase it again and again after it breaks? These small local businesses are the “quality” merchandise in our lives and community, and it behooves us to support them. I don’t believe it’s overly socialistic to say we have a responsibility to volunteer our dollars to a neighborhood store that goes out of their way to be a local staple and gathering spot. We decide the fabric of the places we live in, and we can’t forget that when it’s time to buy.
Shawn and Stephanie have worked their butts off to turn Pappa’s into a better small retailer and neighborhood gathering place. Their smiles, good spirits, and hard work DESERVE our dollars. The term “vote with your dollar” is used often, but we should remember that COST should not be the only “candidate issue” when it comes to that vote.
If we’re told over and over by marketers and leaders that it’s our “patriotic duty” to spend money and help the economy, let’s be SELECTIVE at WHERE we spend this money, and make places like Pappas thrive.