My parents have had the good fortune of being small business owners in the town of Rye, NY since 1982 — just over 31 years. They immigrated to this country from Korea and have worked tirelessly to do the best they could in every way: the best standard of food quality, the best service to their customers & community, and the taking the best care of their employees.
As a result, their little gourmet specialty shop, June & Ho has become a landmark of Rye, and has been repeatedly been recognized in publications such as The New York Times and Westchester Magazine for its excellence. My parents live their lives under the belief that sincerity and hard work will ultimately pay off in the end.
Just this week, a shiny new Whole Foods store opened in the next town, barely a mile away. Needless to say a development like this can be devastating to a small business like my parents’. It got me thinking about the importance of shopping small.
My mother, aka “Momma Park” always goes out of her way to purchase something from a fellow small business owner, be it a pharmacy, a cosmetic shop, for shoes, or even a book. Items she could easily purchase cheaper, or more conveniently, elsewhere. When asked why she goes to the extra trouble, she always says, “I like to support the local people.”
I’m always so lucky because I learn so much from Momma Park — this week is no exception. Sometimes it’s not always about convenience which – when you think about it – has everything to do with yourself. It’s convenient for you, saving time, money, what-have-you. But sometimes, it should be about sincerity. About support. About community. About appreciation that your town isn’t one strip mall of franchises.
This week has made me aspire to be like Momma Park and shop small, “to support the local people.”
I am confident that my parents will be able to survive this Whole Foods episode — just as they’ve survived the Cosi, the Starbucks, the Le Pain Quotidien franchise episodes before it.
While Whole Foods may have aisle-after-aisle of foods you never new existed, June & Ho has a secret weapon they’ll never have….we have Momma Park! :)
June & Ho, 70 Purchase Street; Rye, NY 10580. 914.967.1900