Local Yokel

I had a pair of glass earrings I liked to wear. Inevitably, whether I was on the hill or in town, women would gasp and exclaim, “Where did you get those?” I was always pleased to say, “Deborah Angel made them.” If they don’t know how to find her store I tell them about A Work of Heart, in Frazier Park. Although the artists have moved out, I think Ms Angel still sells her wares at local craft fairs and festivals. She puts a face on “made in America.” Part of the problem with this ongoing recession is the more people turn to foreign made items for the sake of cheap economy, the less manufacturing will continue here in America. Once upon a time American manufacturing was cheap, back before Workers Compensation was invented.

Apparently taking care of workers is what drove work away.

If we want workers to have a living wage we should’t be afraid to pay for it. The reason a yoga instructor at a gym makes minimum wage is because the gym has to pay into unemployment, social security and provides the liability insurance. When I charge my customers $10 each I may not have all those expenses but I do pay rent for my space, and for all my own advertising, gear, and education. I like to think that my level of education puts me above the average $10 dvd or free youTube short. I’m not saying you can’t find good teachers on-line. There are some. I’m saying I’m good too and I’m your neighbor!

Why not support local business?

Years ago when I applied for a job at the local Antelope Valley Bank (a division of California Bank & Trust) I wore the earrings to my job interview. Of course both the manager and the merchant teller asked me where I got them. I explained to them I wore them to the interview to impress upon them the idea that the bank could promote local businesses in similar non-overt means. When local businesses do well they tend to deposit more in their local bank accounts. Of course I didn’t know where Deborah banks, I was merely making a point. Too bad they didn’t hire me. It was as if the manager just didn’t make the connection. Don’t put a face on business, Kumari.

It’s so much easier to ignore people when they are nameless and faceless.

But they is us. When people buy local, our community becomes self sustaining. If you don’t want to be vulnerable to the high price of gas then ensure some businesses remain up here. No one is asking you to go to a hairdresser you don’t like. The fact is I love getting my hair cut at the Mane Place up in PMC. And there are other barbers and hairdressers in the Mtn Communities. And as for the conceit that if it’s local it’s somehow “not as good” I will clarify that Nancy works a few days a week off the hill and a few up in PMC. It’s EXACTLY the same service whether she is here or there. So don’t assume if it’s local it has to suck.

To quote Dickens, “. . . it is a most miserable thing to feel ashamed of home.” 

As for local things being “more expensive.” The opposite is often true. Soon after my husband left me my food budget was $20 a week. Lentils at the Frazier Park Market were cheaper than they were at Food Maxx. Barley was hard to find at any grocery store off the hill. I have a vague memory of discovering Ralph’s had it only as “instant” – yuk. Eggs were also less expensive at Frazier Park Market. If you want fresh eggs, there’s nothing better, try asking at the Coffee Cantina! And what a pleasant surprise to find that over the years the local markets have started to carry more exotic stuff. You can get fresh goat’s milk (i.e. not canned) at Frazier Park Market. You can get carrot juice as well.

When Local business respond to local needs we ought to reward their interest with our spending $$$, else they will stop trying to please us, and turn into another mail order business located out in the boondocks.

Which brings me back to what is dear in my heart – my own Yoga classes. I was certified by YogaWorks in Newhall. A drop in class there is about $23. I am charging a mere $10. Purchase classes by the month for $40 and you can get your cost down to an average of $3.50 each.  Like my hairdresser, Nancy, I also work in Santa Clarita.  You can take a class from me at YogaYoga for $17 drop in price, but why not save the gas and meet me up here? Classes are smaller, you’ll get more personal attention. Personal attention equals actual instruction, not just going through the motions. Learn enough yoga so you can do it by yourself at home when there’s no more yoga available up here, lol.

Nothing is more important than feeling comfortable in your body.

Peace through Strength, Namaste!