Local Redondo Beach writer encourages shopping locally
Local South Bay resident Heidi Butzine didn’t know much about her Redondo Beach neighborhood until the consulting company she worked for closed down because of the downturn in the economy.
“I was driving from my box at home and my box at work and I didn’t appreciate the community,” Butzine said. “When I started my own business four years ago is when I started to both live and work in the South Bay that I realized it was quite nice.”
Instead of commuting back and forth to work by car, she started walking her neighborhood.
“When you’re driving from one box to another and you’re stuck in that commute you’re driving and missing a lot of local businesses—they’re just noise—and you’re whizzing past them,” said Butzine. “I encourage everybody to break out of that route of not getting out to enjoy and appreciate your community. It’s hard to do when you’re so focused on your career, but keep your eyes open and appreciate your community.”
Recently Butzine, a wine aficionado, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed shop-local maven, came out with her most recent book, “Shop Local: A Practical Pain-Free Guide to Shopping with Purpose.”
“After starting my own business I realized that my heart really belongs to small businesses,” said Butzine, who is the creator of the wine travel book series, “Wineopolis Citizen’s Guide” as well as ShopLocal.us and the Certified Locally Owned website. “I learned that old wine mantra—even though wine makers are all technically competitors – if their neighbors fail, then they fail. I think that’s a powerful thing that doesn’t have to stay in wine country.”
“It’s a must to have local artists [in the shops],” local artist Genna Boatright said. “Especially in Hermosa Beach where we’re a close-knit community of people.”
Boatright fashions reclaimed wood into colorful beach town-centered signs.
“I know we’re technically competitors,” Boatright said, referring to the local shops. “But we know what each other produces and if we don’t make it, we can send a customer to someone else. It definitely makes a sense of community.”
Since giving her heart and her time to local businesses, Butzine’s mission has been to get more people to shop local by showing them how easy it is.
Local shop owner of “Curious…” Bryce Toney features over a dozen local artisans, including Boatright, in his downtown Hermosa Beach shop.
“Part of being a retail shop for me is being creative and finding local artisans,” said Toney. “I love stuff like that, plus they’re so nice and it adds so much to the store.”
He also finds that by bringing local artists’ wares to the shop helps strike up a conversation between his employees and shoppers.
“People love it because each piece is a little different and because it’s so much easier to talk about an individual,” said Toney. “It creates a lot of dialogue which is really beneficial. Having local artwork just encourages conversation.”
An aspect of the shop local movement that Butzine explained as an easy way to start exploring the local places in your community is to eat locally.
“There’s a lot of restaurants you can choose from in Hermosa Beach,” Butzine said. “We have to eat, so why not support a locally owned restaurant? There are many that have been here forever.”
She also suggested venturing down to Hermosa Beach or other South Bay towns for their weekly farmer’s markets.
“Especially now people are on budgets and have to figure out what’s realistic and what they want to spend their money on,” said Butzine. “But it’s an easy shift; you can do it with a small dollar amount. Maybe focus on getting half your produce from a farmers market.”
She also suggests expanding beyond food or retail by using local businesses, like finding a CPA, hair stylist or local vendor for your business.
According to Butzine, local businesses keep as much as 30–to-40 percent of their revenue in the community, which she said is more money than national chains contribute to towns because they have their headquarters elsewhere.
“Those dollars that stay in the community go towards paying critical services,” said Butzine. “Cities are facing tough financial times as well, and it’s all connected.”
Butzine said that there’s a multiplier effect for local businesses and their employees.
“The employees spend their money locally, their lunch, dry cleaning, car repairs, and local businesses tend to do business with other local businesses,” Butzine said, adding that people also want to buy things that are unique and that it helps local growth as well as creates an identity and strengthens the community.
“It’s not just something to do during the holiday season, it’s something you can adapt into your life on a daily basis,” said Butzine. “Maybe go to the local coffee shop instead of Starbucks. I think that if we continue to share this information about what the benefits are, that it will pick up.”
Lori and Will Ford, who own the Hermosa Beach store “Gumtree,” have many local artisans selling their creative work in their shop.
“People love it when I can tell them the jeweler is local it’s made in the area,” said Lori Ford. “For tourists it’s fun for them to buy something that’s truly Hermosa Beach or L.A. I love to support local artists when I can if it’s good quality and a good product.”
Ford’s Pier Avenue shop features jewelry designers, locally made wooden post cards, and many other products made in the South Bay and Southern California.
“I like things with a local flavor that aren’t so obvious sometimes,” said Ford.
For proud Southern California native Butzine, the shop-local movement is more than a slogan – it’s a way to strengthen communities.
“Ask yourself to identify one thing you would miss if it were gone in my community and ask if there is anything you can do to support them. Really— we have to help our neighbors,” Butzine said. “With the economy, gee whiz, we have to do something. We can’t just sit back and wait for something to happen!”
You can find Butzine’s book locally at the Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore.ER