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As we go to press with our 13th annual edition of The Shoreline Book, I feel I must communicate to the residents of the Shoreline towns a concern that has been growing throughout the years we have been publishing here. Local businesses are under a strain that threatens the existence of many and makes normal business operations difficult for all. We thought that those who survived the Great Recession would be secure to enjoy a bright future, but online retailing and big box stores are threatening the local business community as we know it.

Local retailers are not the only ones feeling this squeeze. Restaurants, professionals, healthcare providers, farmers, salon owners, mechanics, recreation providers, realtors and home improvement specialists are all affected. It seems we have reached a fork in the road. We can still preserve the diverse business community all of us cherish. But if something isn’t done to shore up our local businesses, we may be forced to imagine a future where the structure of our towns includes residences, schools, town offices, a few big chains (quite distant for many residents), some national chain restaurants, and very little else.

For those, like me, who are appalled by that possible future scenario, there is an easy solution – patronize local businesses. This is not to say you can’t buy things online and in big box stores, which are a huge part of our national economy and aren’t going anywhere. Local businesses don’t need the whole pie, just a small slice, and if all local residents made a conscious decision to devote a small percentage of their purchasing power to local businesses, the problem would be solved.

You may have noticed our new mission statement on the cover: “Connecting Local Residents & Visitors with Local Businesses to Better Our Community, Buy Local – Find It Here.” While this has been our mission for our entire 13-year history, we realized we needed to replace our former dictionary definition with a true statement of purpose in the most visible place in the book.

Last year we began a new program to customize advertising packages for local businesses. These include beautiful full-page department leader photos taken by our incredibly talented photographers directly opposite full-page ads, as well as ad packages that include illustrations of local businesses and “Nuggets,” which are presented as editorial sidebars. All of these options provide local businesses with a unique message tailored by our talented staff to connect them with local residents and presented in the highest quality format by direct mail and carefully targeted additional circulation. Anyone interested in talking about these options can contact me directly on my cell phone at 860-670-6575.

So please use your latest edition of The Shoreline Book as a resource to commit a larger percentage of your consumer expenditures to local businesses from all of the categories represented in our 13 departments. The beauty of it is that you do not have to sacrifice anything to do this. Choose from the plethora of local businesses that provide top-level expertise, fantastic customer service, and competitive pricing. You will increase the quality and usefulness of the products and services that you purchase even as you protect the character and charm of our local community.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the incredibly talented staff and freelancers (listed on the opposite page) that produced this edition of The Shoreline Book, including the writers, editors, photographers, illustrators, graphic artists, salespeople and office staff. I am very proud of your efforts and extremely grateful for the honor of working with you.

 

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