In a full-page ad in Sunday’s Journal-World, Cottonwood Inc., which provides such great services to people with disabilities, listed and thanked the sponsors of two major fundraisers for the agency.
It’s always nice to offer a public thank you to the businesses and individuals who support a charitable cause.
What was particularly noteworthy about the list, though, was that the vast majority of businesses supporting the Cottonwood Classic golf tournament and the Salute! wine and food festival were local companies with local ownership.
Fourteen businesses on Massachusetts Street and 14 Lawrence restaurants were hosts for the Mass Street Mosey event that is part of Salute! All of the restaurants and all but one of the businesses are locally owned and operated. Ten more restaurants were sponsors for the main Salute! festival, all of them locally owned. With the exception of a handful of businesses or financial institutions with local ties, all of the leadership and associated sponsors were local firms.
The same was true of the Cottonwood Classic. There were a handful of national or regional companies, but the vast majority were local. There wasn’t a major national chain store or restaurant in the bunch.
The ad offered another reminder of a situation that is repeated over and over again in Lawrence and many other locations. When it comes to supporting community agencies and activities, it is the hometown businesses that step up and pony up. Major retail and restaurant chains add to consumers’ choices in Lawrence, but their national offices show little interest in contributing to community efforts.
In the current sagging economy most businesses have been struggling to make a profit or even stay afloat. And yet, local businesses are willing to do what they can to help Cottonwood and any number of community nonprofit groups, schools or other service agencies.
We’ve said it before, but it deserves repeating: Lawrence residents have a lot of spending choices, but before they support a business by purchasing a product or service, it’s worth considering which of those businesses also are willing to support the community in return.