Yes Amazon is quick, convenient, and all too easy to use. My 16-year-old doesn’t understand why I prefer to purchase what I can here locally in Traverse City. Just today I wanted to purchase some school supplies to do giveaways to families before the school year begins. His exact comment was – “Just Amazon it Mom – it’s the smartest way”.

I do understand that his Generation Z group of young people don’t understand a world without technology. I’ve tried more than once to explain to him why reading to me is important and his response is always along the lines of – That’s what Google is for Mom. He sees his mother listening to or reading an average of 5 books a month, a total waste of time. And of course, I think, how sad that he will never understand the joy of an afternoon relaxing on a beautiful beach with a great book and warm summer breeze.

I do however; get it. I just don’t agree with it! Every chance I get, I will deal with local vendors and retail establishments. I understand it may cost me more in the areas of money, time and convenience, and I’m ok with that. I also know that some clients of mine could choose to go the route of 1-800 numbers for their insurance. The fact that they ‘choose’ to work with us, is reason enough for me to return the same as often as possible. I like knowing that the money I spend is helping them and their families, not being sent off to some corporate giant in another state.

Insurance is no different. I’ve spent almost 30 years (gulp) as a licensed insurance agent here in Northern Michigan, and yet the last 2 years I’ve seen more sales of local agencies to large equity and national companies than ever. A total of 4 previously ‘locally owned’ independent agencies in the Traverse City area are no longer locally owned. I realize they didn’t change their name, but we keep hearing they have changed their service. Many people still like the home town feel of stopping into their insurance agent’s office to discuss confusing billing issues, complicated or upsetting claims problems, or just to be assured that they have the right coverage. We are here for that! I hope in reading this, that it gives you at least a moment to contemplate your shopping decisions, and that regardless if it’s clothing, school supplies, insurance, or holiday or event gifts, that you at least consider purchasing from the small business owners in your own community.