A Labor Day ‘Ode to Independents’

by Denny Dow 

Ode to Independent RetailersDetermination, grit, strength, and a bulletproof work ethic define the American worker. American workers build and reinforce our future through their dedication to getting the job done today. This Labor Day, we pause to salute the drive and perseverance of those who work for themselves and work together to contribute to the strength and prosperity of our country. We sometimes take for granted what is built on the backs of those who pour their hearts, brains and bodies into their work.

We would like to give an ode to those bold independent workers: Those who have what it takes to go their own way and blaze their own path. Many of us will gather together for one last summer cookout this Labor Day, much like independent hard-working business owners bring the local community together every day.

As those yearly cookouts bring back memories of the moments and faces that have since passed, there’s nostalgia that comes about when thinking of your neighborhood hardware store. Or, of the gentleman your dad grew up with who has been selling tractors since Nixon was in office. If you’re old enough, you probably remember the smiling faces behind every storefront in your hometown. Independents were an integral part of the landscape, part of the tapestry of every town, and they still are today.

It’s no secret that consumers love choice. And as a millennial, the writer of this ode is admittedly a part of the generation that puts convenience on the top of the must-have list, too. However, no customer will ever look poorly upon being treated as family, upon loyalty, or upon passionate knowledge. We just may need a reminder now and then that something good like that exists – and Labor Day is the perfect time for reflection.

In today’s world where everything seems so unstable, superficial, and opaque, it’s nice to know that those passionate small-town local-owned independents are still there. It’s good to see they’re providing the bedrock for community business, pushing along the area economy. There’s also something reassuring about knowing your money is staying local. There’s something special in your purchase from an independent retailer, when it means you are part of a network of loyal local customers and dependable independent retailers boosting your own local economy. People, free to choose, work with those who have chosen to be independent, and the whole town benefits as a result. To quote John Mellencamp – “Ain’t that America?”

So here’s to you, independent dealers, independent retailers, independent business owners, and independent American workers. As all of us reflect and celebrate the workers that built this country and continue to make it hum along, we want to reach out and thank our independents this Labor Day for embodying the spirit of America.