How can you help build a strong local economy and maintain the unique character of your neighborhood? Shop locally as much as possible. Small businesses respond to the wants and needs of their loyal, local customers. Patronizing a local business isn't just about spending your money locally; it's about fostering a sense of community and culture. It also diversifies the local business economy and creates a friendly environment for new, innovative businesses. (And when you stay local, you lighten your carbon footprint, too). So support the Mom-and-Pops. It's an enriching experience for both vendor and customer.