Editorial: Shopping on Vashon keeps our Island vibrant

It’s been a tough winter for some of our Island merchants. Now, with the days growing longer and occasional breaks in the seemingly ceaseless rain, we urge you to resist the urge to buy anything online that you could find at an Island store and shop locally instead.

Here’s why.

First, if we don’t support our Island merchants on a steady and reliable basis, some of them will go away — and you’ll be in a jam the next time you need poster board, bubble bath, a sticker book, running shoes, a novel, a frame, ear buds or a wedding gift at the last minute. In other words, purely out of self-interest, you should do your part to keep our Island shops alive.

Second, they do more than you can imagine for our schools and nonprofits, our auctions and raffle drawings — month after month. When the Interfaith Council to Prevent Homelessness offered up two heaping baskets full of gift certificates and goods recently, Islanders generously supported the effort by buying tickets (hoping, of course, they just might win). The real generosity, however, came from the Island’s merchants, who gave so much that the two baskets were valued at $700 each.

So, too, with the recent Oscars Night extravaganza, a community-building event made especially sweet by the incredible prizes awarded to those who donned the best costumes or answered all the trivia questions correctly: A night at the Quartermaster Inn; a silk charmeuse shawl from Dova Silks; $100 worth of flowers from Blooms & Things. 

Now, almost all of these same merchants and retailers are contributing to the PTSA’s upcoming auction, to be held May 14. In other words, they give and give and give.

Third, it’s a kind of sustainability when we shop locally, for it means Islanders have work in their own community, often just a few miles from their home. You might pay a little more, but you’re helping to create a full circle of sustainable life here on Vashon.

Finally, it just makes life on Vashon Island a little more interesting, vibrant, fun and meaningful. It’s depressing to see boarded up windows on our main street through town. It’s delightful to see distinct, homegrown, one-of-a-kind shops.

So remember that it’s been a tough winter. The weather has taken a toll for some. And do your best to spend your discretionary dollars — be they few or many — right here, on Vashon.


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