Will Mom and Pop stores survive in downtown Hamilton?

"We are trying to work with local farms and producers, to meet the needs of the people around here," said Silva. "We do get customers who drive or walk by and come in, but our everyday customers are the ones who live here. If we help them, they help us. It is the community's cycle."

Hamilton residents Bill and Carolyn Todd were out riding their bikes recently, on their way home from Wayne's Market after doing some shopping.

"We've decided not to patronize the large grocery chain because we prefer to buy from local establishments," said Bill Todd. "We're buying from the weekend farmers' markets (being tested at various locations around Hamilton), local farms, and the Hamilton Whole Foods store. We'll be able to get through part of the winter with a produce box that we got from Common Thread - our community supported agriculture (CSA) farm."

Carolyn Todd, who was recently was elected to the Hamilton Town Council feels that supporting local businesses is the right thing to do.

"We know that if we don't support local businesses, they won't stay here," she said, "and we want this to be a self-sufficient community with local shopping options, local commerce and banking, and services. We want that to be here."

Local merchants may not regularly stock an item that you need but may be able to special order it from their suppliers. Giving them the chance to do so goes a long way, said Yacavone, who is happy to order things that her customers are looking for.

"There are big chain stores that claim to offer one-stop shopping and cheap prices, but they won't have the unique items or high quality products that you'll find in the smaller shops," says Yacavone. Buying better quality products will also save in the long run when you don't have to frequently replace inexpensive, low quality items.

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