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Cultivating community.

Sometimes it seems the old-fashioned, small-town, family business has gone completely by the wayside. Indeed, with huge chains such as Walmart utilizing their huge-quantity buying power to get the lowest prices on merchandise, which they then pass on to their customers, it is nigh impossible for smaller stores to compete. However, mom and pop stores are as American as apple pie; they provide a distinctly personal touch not found in the larger stores, and serve to remind us of the close community that once prevailed in much of the country.

Realizing this, residents of one small town have put their money where their mouths are in order to save their hometown grocery store. The April 4 New York Times reported that when Dana Conklin, a resident of Point Lookout, New York, learned that the town's much-loved, family-run grocery store, Merola's, was heavily in debt and facing bankruptcy, she decided to do something to save it. Conklin organized a one-time community fundraising drive, "so that customers could help pay the bills and keep the store going until business picked up in the spring and summer." Amazingly, over 150 residents responded, covering about half of the store's $100,000 debt!

"I see it as a miracle from God, and there's not one person that can shake me on that," Catherine Carrazo, one of the third-generation owners of the family store, told the Times.

In this digital age there is much to draw us away from our neighbors, but we all need to cultivate that sense of local community and personal touch. Thanks to the Point Lookout residents, Merola's will be around for a while to continue providing that to its customers.

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Author:Stanley, Liana
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jun 7, 2010
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