When is the last time a grocery store called you up to let you know your favorite food item had arrived? I love the personal service at the Sunshine Herb Corner – a natural food grocery, supplement and vitamin store on US 40 (Xerex St.) a block south of the Fraser Post Office. Jeanette Thompson and her co-workers always have down to earth advice for questions about low impact approaches to remaining healthy. Their food collection recognizes diet is the key building block to health.

As you settle into new food shopping patterns with the addition of the Fireside Market in Winter Park consider your decisions about how you spend what is likely the largest share of your already stretched paycheck.

I fed two sons through their growing years.  Early on in the feeding frenzy I debated the value of driving to Denver to purchase their fuel. Several factors weighed in on my decision to buy groceries locally. First, I believe in the maxim “The best view of Denver is in your rearview mirror.” Besides the frustration of a Denver trip, if you factor in the value of your time, wear and tear on, and gas in your vehicle – any cost savings are quickly eaten up by expenses.

Consider also the fact Grand County communities depend on sales tax to function. Property taxes are relatively low, so providing community services depend on your “contribution” when shopping locally. Because we live in towns with a small full time populations and a large number of residences – all needing plowing, streets and services – we depend on local and tourist spending to keep our other tax burdens at least somewhat affordable. When you shop in Denver you help that community, not ours.

Most importantly, each brave local business person goes out on a limb to provide the items you need when you don’t have time to trek over Berthoud Pass.  Shopping locally helps ensure your neighbor can make a living.

Where you shop locally also matters.  As I’ve said before, I hope one day Winter Park and Fraser might combine at least their sales tax incomes to ensure we have a sustainable model of ensuring both communities remain strong.  Winter Park enjoys the lion’s share of sales tax generating businesses; Fraser hosts most of the local workers and valley services – including the library, school and recreation center.  The town of Fraser is dependent for much of its income on sales taxes generated by Safeway

To support Fraser I will remain loyal to Safeway for most of my food shopping.  I do enjoy bread and baked goods shopping in Winter Park at Carvers, Rise and Shine and at the Fireside Market.  I believe other niche stores in Fraser deserve sales tax loyalty as well; including the Rocky Mountain Roastery, Totally Wired Cyclery, the newly expanded Icebox Mountain Sports and of course our new Murdoch’s. My favorite Fraser store has always been Ace Hardware where the Harris family provides tremendous support for my home and contracting business with their in-depth knowledge of all things involving the building trades.

Another local business idea has been established at Holden’s Hard Drive with their Fraser Workspace.  The holy grail of improving the local economy is fostering the start-up of non-tourist related businesses which hold the promise of offering higher wages and year-round, dependable employment.  Next to Murdoch’s is a ready-made, affordable and well supported office space for movers and shakers to begin a foray into location neutral businesses.

I do not carry any animosity toward any municipality with my shopping decisions.  But I do bring loyalty to Fraser first as my home, then to Winter Park as my next-door neighbor and finally to other county businesses who are part of the fabric of our truly Grand community.