There is a lot of buzz lately about the future of Cambridge Springs and the committees to beautify our town. We all have a responsibility to contribute to and support our local towns. I always chuckle at the “Shop local, don’t spend your money so an executive can buy another summer home, help Jenny go to dance lessons.” Essentially, this is true. We own three businesses and the money you spend with us (mostly) stays right here in our community. We purchase our gas at Bausch’s, Lydic’s changes the oil and performs any repairs needed on our vehicles, we frequent the Lickety Split and Bambino’s, we eat breakfast at both DNJ Bakery and The Old Tyme Cafe, most of our displays for Hello Beautiful Boutique have come from Rachel Varndell, the Hermitage House, Walker’s, and Markow’s Days Gone By. We eat special treats from Finney’s Chocolates and Kwik Fill (known as the apple store by my kids) and spend time at the Riverside Brewery Thirsty Thursdays.
Our prescriptions and our Cambridge Springs gear come from the Cambridge Springs Pharmacy. We buy our tools and supplies from Hendrickson’s and Hobb’s. The list goes on and on. We choose to purchase locally because, well, you receive the best customer service, and most of the time the employees live in our town or close by. The more successful the businesses in our town are the more people will spend money in our town, the more businesses will want to open in our town, the more jobs will be available for our community members, the more attractive our town becomes to people looking for homes and investments, which means more kids in our schools, more money for our schools…it’s just good all around for our town. We also know the success of the local businesses in our town are dependent on our support. This isn’t just the town we work in, it’s the town we live in and the town we hope to retire in. We need to do our part.
Local business owners understand how important small business is so they tend to purchase their supplies from other small businesses and support and promote small businesses. We carry a variety of local artisan products and the majority of our other products are from small businesses, handcrafted and made with love. Our coffee is purchased from Happy Mug which roasts right in Edinboro. Our bagels are made by Lakeside Bagel in Edinboro. Our milk is distributed by Turner’s which only uses the milk from farmers in Northwestern Pennsylvania. Did you know the dough and the breads that Bambino’s uses is made by DNJ Bakery? So when you purchase a pizza, you are also supporting the bakery. When the Riverside Brewing Company is open, their plans are to prepare their meals farm-to-table which means they will source as much of their food and produce locally as possible, helping the farmers in our communities. When Outland Studios hosts painting events at local restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries, he offers a free drink or dessert with the ticket price in turn spending money in a restaurant that is typically slower on that day and bringing new and returning customers to the venue. Support local.
Investing in our youth…most local businesses employ their children in hopes that one day, their children will take over the family business, but also, we are shaping the youth in our community to be hard workers and good citizens because they will, one day, be the people who will be the mayor of our town, our Borough members, CEOs of our local companies. So when you support your local businesses, you are investing in the future of our town, because our children are the future. You are supporting a family, your friends, your community. Our oldest son is in the Army National Guard. He previously worked at the Riverside Inn and Jeremy Ball, the GM, was awesome about working around his military and wrestling schedules. But with the loss of the Riverside, our son was unsure what to do for employment. You see, he doesn’t just serve one weekend a month. His unit is in Williamsport, PA which is four hours from here. In the past few years, there have only been a few weekends. He is typically gone for a week, sometimes several months at a time. There have been many times he has been called in earlier than his scheduled date and times that he doesn’t come back on the date they originally plan. And I know the laws, a company has to keep a job for him, but how difficult for the person running that company to try to keep up with his schedule and the many changes. Working for us gives him a flexible schedule and has also given him skills that he will use for life. He has developed a love for business and wants to pursue a college degree. He also was a big deciding factor in the coffee shop, some of our marketing ideas, products we sell. Shaping our future. Many of our local businesses employ the people who live right here in our town. Local jobs which means they are in turn spending money in our community and supporting our community.
Danica Escalante is following in her grandfather’s footsteps. (Click here and give her Facebook page a like!) He has taught her how to paint jewelry. She travels with him on weekends and sells her jewelry at craft shows, local fairs, fundraisers, and vendor events. And she is only 12 years old! You have seen her at the Cambridge Springs Musicfest, the Crawford County Fair, Sprague’s, all over the community. A young entrepreneur in our community! By supporting her endeavors and other youths like her, we are investing in our future.
Donations. We donate 20% of our sales through our combined businesses (Outland Studios donates 50%), so essentially, you are donating too! Where does that money go? To our sports teams like football, wrestling, softball, cheerleading, cross country, etc. To school programs, the library, and churches. To your local charities to raise money for issues that are important to you. To our Fire Department, Police Department, and local VFWs. Donating money permits the kids in our sports programs and school programs to participate for free, donating chinese auction baskets helps them raise money during their fundraising efforts. Donating to charities not only helps with research, but also raises awareness and helping local families. We can’t possibly donate to every single person that asks, every time they ask, but we try to do our part. Why do we donate so much? It’s an investment in our community! We feel it all comes back around. It brings a sense of community to our town, everyone helping everyone reach their goals, supporting their purpose. If we can rally together to help our kids, help families, help communities, then we can certainly rally together to raise money to help a business owner paint the outside of their building to make it more appealing, help a business owner repair a floor, purchase equipment, buy better signs, cameras for security, flowers to beautify downtown. We can raise money to purchase banners to honor our military, police officers, fire department. We can raise money to help our fire department purchase new equipment, electronic signs that remind drivers just how fast they are going so they slow down so our children are safe. I know what you are thinking…we pay taxes…and you are right. And I think our Borough does a great job of allocating funds where they are needed but we can do so much more. We can build a town that we are proud of, that is attractive to tourists and folks from other towns. I recently read an article published in the Washington Post titled “America’s forgotten towns: Can they be saved or should people just leave?” It talks about a lot of politics but at the heart of the article, it talks about working together, trusting each other, creating new ways to bring tourism back, taking risks, betting on the future. Think of the last fundraiser you helped with, whether it be for school or a sports program or some type of awareness…how successful was it? How many people donated their time or donated period to make it successful? Why did you donate? What did you learn from the experience? I always measure success by the experience. You know it takes a few leaders to take charge of the fundraiser but it takes lots of people to make it a success.
Share! Share! Share! When you see a Facebook post, share it! A team did well, share it! A local business is having a special, share it! You visited a local business, check in, take a selfie and share it! You noticed something cool like Brian Harmon planting flowers again, share it! Your chocolate was fabulous, take a pic and share it! Social media is a great marketing tool that can help businesses get their names out there without too much cost. We all want to advertise and yet help our community through donations, so if we need to spend less money on advertising because social media is fulfilling that need, then there’s more money to donate and help the community. LIKE BUSINESS PAGES!!! Share business pages with your friends! Tag your friends in posts and encourage them to like them as well! The more people know about all of the great things to do and places to go in our town, the better chance they will come here and spend their money which keeps the town going, keeps businesses here, encourages other businesses to open! The more you share, the more your friends and their friends will see those posts and others start to think “maybe I need to visit Cambridge Springs”…the power of social media.
Celebrating the uniqueness of our community. Our community was once known for it’s Healing Waters. Soon we will be known for another kind of water with two breweries opening in the spring. Our community is made up of a lot of unique people, stores, history, sports “legends”. Cambridge Springs has so much to offer to families and individuals. Have you ever gone Pokemon hunting? When you walk around the town the PokeStops and gyms are stores, historical points, churches, fire department, the library, etc. Our town hosts history nights, a Musicfest, local bands, carnivals, 5K races, poker runs, parades. One of my favorite things is when a sports team wins, they are escorted by the Fire Department. It is such a huge honor to be a part of a town that celebrates its youth! We have great community leaders that keep us informed about the things going on in our town and highlights the local businesses. Brian Harmon and Delores Hale are always posting about their adventures to our local businesses and the great things people are accomplishing and the updates that are happening. Have you ever taken a tour of our town and discovered the beauty and rich history of the buildings in our town? Cambridge Springs has been destroyed by floods, by devastating fires, a tornado, and yet, we still managed to come together and survive and move forward…TOGETHER!
It takes a community to keep a town going. Not just one person or a group of people. It’s takes people who care about the future, people who want the place they live, the place they work, the place they visit to be the best it can be. It takes you; investing in our town by shopping locally, by supporting the community. For several weeks the talk of how we can improve our town has been the hot topic. So many great ideas, so much feedback, so many conversations that get the wheels turning that three committees were formed. We applied for all three committees based solely on the amount of conversations we have had with community members, leaders, business owners…we really thought let’s apply for all three and cross our fingers that we are chosen for at least one. Then I saw the post yesterday looking for more people to apply to fill the committees and found out only seven people applied. Seven. Where did all the people go? Where did all the talk about a brighter future and making our town the best it can be go? Why was there so much buzz and enthusiasm and now there are not even enough people to volunteer to help organize three committees? Ideas and suggestions are great but the real change happens when those ideas are implemented. We can talk and talk and talk about the future and things that should happen but it starts with you, with us, with the entire town. It can’t just be a few people rolling up their sleeves and caring enough to make changes, we have to make changes as a community. Shop local. Support local. Be the local that makes an impact.