“Maybe we’ll see readers come out of this with a reinvigorated interest in comics.” I sure hope so.
I have said all that I have to say about shopping local and frequenting small businesses and restaurants in my past several columns. What can I say? It’s a constant theme around here.
So it dawned on me that since we have a holiday shopping issue on our hands, and our reporters have interviewed literally hundreds of small biz owners about their wins, losses, and experiences through the pandemic, that I ought to lend this space to those who actually put the work in at brick-and-mortar establishments day in and day out. Several have said things that stuck with me, some of which I excerpted below. When you are out spending money, try paying them a visit.
Clarrissa Cropper, co-owner of Frugal Bookstore in Roxbury, on the symbiotic relationship between sellers and buyers: “We have had a continuous stream of support from our Nubian community as well as other communities in and around the city. The level of support we’ve received since we have been in business is abundant. Our children’s section has always been popular with our customers because of the vast selection of BIPOC authors and protagonists. We have seen an increase in romance, sci-fi, and mystery books [too]. We carry a little bit of everything for everybody. We do not let our personal feelings or bias interfere with the selection of books we provide to our customers and we respect the fact that we are all different.”
Tony Davis, owner of Million Year Picnic in Cambridge, on pandemic possibilities: “Maybe we’ll see readers come out of this with a reinvigorated interest in comics, maybe it’ll be a fresh start and an end to the cynicism that comes with comic book and movie fandom these days.”
Alex Merriwether of Harvard Book Store in Cambridge on fresh approaches and their reinvigorated site: “We understand that some people are going to shop online, but that doesn’t mean you’ve to shop with a corporation that doesn’t care about books.”
The team from Scope Apparel in Jamaica Plain on making it through the enduring disaster: “When the COVID-19 Global Pandemic struck, we like everyone else found our world up-ended and our usual places of business all shut down with no certainty of return. Over a year of tremendous loss and human suffering we, like so many others, also found hope and resilience and opportunity to rebuild in a more just, equitable and sustainable way embedded in this fundamental challenge our world faces.”
I’m not sure if everything that’s fucked in this world can be fixed via local shopping splurges, but it’s a solid start. And a whole lot of fun for the fam.
CHRIS FARAONE, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.