Our View: Ask your neighbor for a cup of sugar

Because we have no idea how much you paid attention in economics class, we’ll spell it out for you.

Shopping local helps everyone.

Next time you go to a major chain store, flip over whatever you’re about to buy (not usually applicable for food) and see what country it’s from. Chances are it doesn’t say “Made in the U.S.A.” – the last thing made in the U.S.A. was John Cougar Mellencamp. So where do you think some of your money is going when you buy products from elsewhere in the world?

Even when you do buy from a chain company where the product is made in the United States, the money still flies far from the cash register in Kent and pads the pockets of a man who probably hasn’t seen a $20 bill since 1984. It’s not helping the plumber up the road, and it’s not helping the dentist three blocks away.

Many college students assume that if they buy from a chain store, the prices will be lower, and they can save a few bucks for their next trip to the pizza parlor. But the reality is prices aren’t that much different at mom-and-pop stores.

Need a loaf of bread? Go to Kent Foods Co-Op. Not only will the bread most likely be healthier for you to eat, but the money goes to the locals who help run and support the company.

Need a kitchen table? Bypass Ikea and check out Einstein’s Attic. You’ll get a pretty retro (tell your friends it’s vintage) table that will be way cheaper because it’s secondhand.

Looking for a quick lunch? The pizza chains don’t need to be your only option. There are places in Kent that are locally owned, such as Anthony’s Coffee and Cakes and the Franklin Square Deli, that aren’t overpriced, and sometimes you can even get coupons from yet another locally owned company. Plus, sometimes the local eateries serve foods that have been grown locally as well. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

The health of the local economy will have a much more immediate impact on students than the national economy.

We’d like to think students would hate to see the city of Kent turn into a town run only by chain stores that could make the area look like Anytown, U.S.A. Small businesses are often the first to feel the pangs of an economy in trouble, and it would be a sad day to watch these stores close when they’ve been around for years, or even decades in some cases.

Shopping locally helps with more than just the economy. We’d all breathe a little easier with less pollution in the air if 18-wheelers weren’t rolling in to drop off ingredients from Mexico to restaurants. You can walk to most of the stores from dorms or apartments in town, so you’ll save some money on gas as well.

Every little bit helps. Even if once a week you forgo your trip to Applebee’s for a trip to a local restaurant, you’re doing your part. Talk up these stores to your friends and take a trip with a few of them. Next time you have to get a birthday gift for that lucky guy or girl in your life, go to a local boutique instead of Target. Not only will you be helping that store, but the gift will most likely be much more unique than one made in bulk somewhere in Thailand.

All politics is local, but so is all economy.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.