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Letter: Darien Chamber Leader Promotes Local Holiday Shopping

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DARIEN, Conn. -- The Darien Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Please send letters to darien@dailyvoice.com .

To the editor:

The Town of Darien is unique in that so many of Darien’s local businesses are owned by individuals. These owners are incredibly generous, knowledgeable and...just nice people!

This is where you go with a personal challenge—an outfit needed, an unusual special gift to give, a special flower arrangement for a friend in need, the right frame for a daughter’s artwork, a prescription delivered (yes! Grieb’s delivers!) and even cooking advice at our locally owned Palmer’s.

These are the personalities behind the storefronts. They donate their resources endlessly to our community. Why? Because they believe in Darien, the residents, our nonprofits, and our schools. If it was “just business” there wouldn’t be the same level of give back to Darien.

When you shop online, there is no interaction, there is no valuable advice, there is no community commitment. Who does the online purchase benefit? Where is the personal interaction?

I’ve gone to merchants in the past few months to seek advice on sharpening pruning shears, arranging flowers for a dinner, shipping the difficult package, finding bee-sting remedies, locating meaningful retirement gifts and matching a stone in a lost earring. I have ordered books needed for school (ASAP!) from Barrett Bookstore and received them the next day! If we don’t support our local merchants, we can’t get this kind of service.

As the Chamber director, I have the opportunity to see the behind the scenes generosity of our retailers to Darien.

The Darien Sport Shop has its traditional tree lighting with Santa and music. Steve Zangrillo started this tradition and for years, Darien families have gathered for this wonderful event continued by his daughter, Gina. Bill Jensen at the Darien Toy Box loves the Christmas holiday enough to organize Holiday Magic with the giant animals, Santa, and the Carolers (our own Darien students!) and Penny Glassmeyer is his No. 1 helper along with the Elves and the Grinch (Darien students also!).

Our local merchants are the ones that hire our teenagers and young adults for their first job! The ones that will try and get something special for you if you are a customer! They are the ones that donate to our fundraisers. (try getting a donation from Amazon!) They give Darien personality! If you treat them well buy shopping locally, everyone in Darien benefits.

Before you order by mail or online, think about shopping locally here in Darien. I think you will find what you want right here! And you can go home feeling great about your purchase and the good it does the Darien Community!

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday.

Susan Cator

Executive Director, Darien Chamber of Commerce

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