Saturday, February 19, 2011


I love local stuff....restaurants, boutiques, grocery stores, bookstores, coffee name it.  Maybe it was growing up in Stanford, Kentucky where you filled your Amoxicillin prescription while they fixed you an orange aide at the old soda shop while spinning around the bar stool waiting for the spanking you were going to get for the "said" spinning.  Or the "Frame Shop" that smelled yummy and sold not only frames but cards, gifts and such.

Coleman's Drug Store....home of the famous orange aide

Or was it living in the Caribbean....choosing which fruit stand to buy mangoes from or the fish guy who brought the Mahi Mahi every Friday at five.  Or was it the waxing and pedicures from Shirley in her non-air-conditioned "salon" of sorts.... or Rosie, my personal taxi driver (you would have to live there to understand having a taxi driver..)  Or the roadside plantain stands... yum

My favorite plantain shop... a grilled plantain cost $1 EC (their money or about thirty cents)

I believe it was living in New York City that solidified my love for local businesses.  We lived in Astoria, the first neighborhood inside of Queens.  Across the street from our house was a diner, the Belaire Diner, that was open 24/7, 365 days a year and delivered...our waiter was Lefty, a fabulous Greek man with a great accent.  We went to local gym and shopped at the grocery store across the street.  I went to the same bodega at the Brooklyn hospital where I worked to get a Naked Juice each morning.  We loved eating at Gradisca in Manhattan and I again found a local salon for waxing, nails and hair.  The whole time we were in NYC I don't think we ate a national chain more than 5 or 6 times...  There were great local shoe stores and boutiques beyond Madison avenue...most I could not afford.   My favorite was at Christmas when local artisans, photographers, designers and food vendors would set up mini-shoppes at Bryant Park and Union Square.... you could browse handmaid ties, photos, paintings, all while eating some yummy stuff. 

my in-law in front of our fav, Gradisca
Anyhow, why do I write about this?  Today I was reminded yet again that even in a city like Louisville, local businesses are to be appreciated.  JT had visited 3rd Avenue Cafe with work and kept raving about it.  Since we had the day as a family today, we decided to head back there...  (I will admit it, we started the day with a Starbucks coffee....not a local joint)  We went to a place called The Barber Shop so that Tedi could get his hair cut... LOVED IT.  They remembered him from the last time and were so good with him.  Then we headed over to the Third Avenue Cafe for lunch... the food was great... more importantly, the service was great.  One guy, who self-referred to himself as "pop up spam" as he kept coming over asking us if we needed anything, made the suggestion to dip Tedi's fries into his tomato basil soup....fabulous suggestion.  Overall, it was a great experience.  Next, I used some of my birthday money to head over to Swag's, local running shop, to get some new sneakers. 

Third Avenue Cafe
After a day like this, I realize how integral local businesses... not that I did not before.  I love tons of local Louisville joints.  At the same time, I admit that I do like places such as Sephora and Starbucks and Jimmy Johns and Pitaya and Pinkberry and Papyrus.... However, it is the small bookstore that services coffee, sells cards, and smells like pumpkin that is really where it is at.  I am going to try to make more of a point to mention such businesses on my blog.  Despite the fact that this is an adoption blog, many supporters of our adoption were small business owners and there is so much be said for paying it forward (and, in essence, paying it back as well).... So while I work on frequently a local business each month as part of my 101 list, I will try to make notes of local joints we visit.  Below I put a list of few favorites...I am sure there are several I will miss but this is a start.... (will add more as I go)

Nord's Bakery
Check's Cafe
The Barber Shop

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