The world is changing; commercial spending is shifting, forcing brick and mortar stores to e-commerce. Businesses of every kind are trying rapidly to remain relevant while battling the tasking repercussions of COVID-19; and some are not even able to open. During the pandemic we have realized how much could be at stake in our communities if we do not focus on local businesses and the assurance of their survival.
From retail to grocery, more people than not usually shop at the same handful of places repeatedly. But when it comes to woodworking or the crafts that woodworkers make, the list of specific places available are usually less than all the items in Aisle 9. That is why if we do happen to have a local woodworker in our town we should take advantage of this small, yet convenient, business. Not only can they craft practically everything in a common household – chairs, tables, bookshelves, dressers, utensils, etc – but they can take someone else’s idea and fashion it into reality!
What mega commerce store can do that? Big companies tend to lose that personal edge with their customers but not here; woodworkers crave that one of kind, custom creation, desired by the people that need something more than what the generic big business can provide. They can take a part of your personality and create a functional item that can be useful for everyday life. Some even have workshops and shows for those interested in learning a few new tactile skills. So, even if the support can’t be made through a purchase, why not go and visit!? Support through conversation and positive feedback; give that crumb bit of time to some of those businesses within your area.
Explore your town, again, like it was the first time. You maybe surprised about some of the hidden stores within your own microcosm. This type of support, regardless of the amount of money we may have, can fuel these owners and workers not only to work harder but to be more mindful in their own communities.
Even within the woodworking community knowledge should remain something that’s universal. Supporting your own niche is important. Not only does it allow friendly competition but it also drives the expansions of learning—and knowledge is power. Growth will still happen no matter what “secrets” one tells. Think about it, did we get where we are because of the things we only knew? No. Our knowledge comes from a range of sources, people being a major component of that. Competition isn’t lost by giving another individual a helping hand and success is not gained through isolation.
We need each other and in more ways than not we are all interconnected. Not all woodworkers work directly with wood in the same way, yet as a whole we can all value it equally. It is our duty, as woodworkers, to keep the woodworking community as an endless world of creativity and learning. More so, it’s our duty as people, to keep our communities flourishing, especially in a time like this.