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There was a little bookstore, located in the center of a historic downtown. It was cozy and people could browse the selections while they relaxed on comfortable couches. It held author signings and special events. It was committed to the community and its customer service was first-rate.

But what customers were doing was enjoying the ambiance of their favorite bookstore then returning home and buying the books on Amazon.com, where they cost less. Everyone thought everyone else was shopping there. Times got tougher and tougher for the owners, who knew they had a special store and couldn’t figure out why it was failing. When they finally announced they were closing, the community was in shock. The store had become part of the fabric of the town. It made their Main Street special. They had thought everyone was supporting it.

They rallied together and held a fund-raiser to keep the store in business. Today, they all buy their books there first. They even think of the bookstore first when they need a present, rather than rush off to the nearby mall.

Think local first. Without our local stores and restaurants, we lose an important part of the fabric of our towns. Never assume that everyone else is supporting them.

We are in the early stages of creating a Local First campaign in the Nashoba Valley communities of Groton, Pepperell, Townsend, Shirley, Ayer, Harvard, Westford and Littleton. For more information, visit www.grotonlocal.org or call (978) 448-9830.

BARBARA SCOFIDIO

Groton

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