Ballard's 21st Century Viking, Brian LeBlanc.

21st Century Viking: Be local, buy Ballard

In the midst of the current economic crisis, which does not have a catchy name yet, where we choose to spend our money will have a large effect on what businesses will survive.

The best way to keep the Ballard economy strong is by supporting our local businesses.

Among the many reasons that I love living in Ballard is that it is a walkable neighborhood. There are a variety of interesting independent businesses as well as several larger chain stores all within walking distance of downtown Ballard.

Together, all of the businesses provide a level of convenience to the point that if you really wanted to, you don't really have to leave Ballard in order to go shopping or have a good time. There are a lot of other neighborhoods in Seattle that have most of one kind of business and little of the other. Ballard's mix has always seemed be just right.

In order to get through, all of these businesses will need your help. Yes, even the big chain stores. The big chain stores have sales goals to meet as well and if they don't, their corporate bosses could respond by cutting jobs, reducing hours and service, and possibly closing underperforming locations.

Small independent businesses have the freedom to do what they want but they have more incentive to make ends meet because if they can't pay the bills, they have to close.

You've probably heard the slogan "Be local, buy organic." I want to slightly modify this to "Be local, buy Ballard."

We vote with our ballots, but we also vote with our wallets. Every economic decision we make has ramifications. The more we consciously choose to buy from the businesses in our neighborhood, the more we are helping our neighbors.

I don't want to use this column to support any particular business, even though I could go on at length about the businesses in Ballard that I frequent and the great products and service that they provide. You know which ones you like and I encourage you to support them by always thinking twice about where you are when you are about to make a purchase.

Sometimes you might find yourself in another part of the city and need something. Do you really need it right then or can you wait until you get back to Ballard?

There are also times where you want to go out and eat a meal with your significant other at a restaurant or go carousing with our friends. You might be tempted to go to some trendy new place in another neighborhood. Why not suggest that your group go somewhere in Ballard? You could even try that place you haven't been to yet that you have heard good things about that you walk past every day.

The more that we consider the ramifications of how we choose to spend our money, the more sense it makes to make a conscious effort to keep our money in the local economy. Of course you have a right to spend your money when and how you want to and there are goods and services that are not available in Ballard. At the same time all of these local businesses made a conscious decision to locate their operations in Ballard.

Each of them, in their own way, is trying to be a part of our community. If you like what they are offering you and want to see them stay around, please support them. There has never been a better time to think about the ramifications of how and where you spend your money.

Not only that, you'll save on gas.

Questions, comments, column idea? Please contact Brian Le Blanc at or comment below.

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.