Carl White’s Life in the Carolinas

Local Balance for the Holidays

Carl White’s syndicated column features stories about his journey as a TV producer and host. Carl says “I am writing about the people I meet as I travel and the interesting places visited. They do not all end up on TV, but a lot do and everyone becomes a friends. It’s a wonderful journey”

Below you will find a sampling of Carl’s columns. To read them in a paper nearest you, please subscribe to:

Greenwood, SC: Index Journal
Cheraw, SC: The Link
Lenoir, NC: The News Topic
Wilkes County, NC: The Record
Alleghany, NC: Alleghany News
Spruce Pines, NC: Mitchell News

Local Balance for the Holidays

The idea of supporting small local business owners during our largest gift giving season is an honorable notion. With busy schedules and the desire driven by highly effective advertising it’s not always easy to balance the budget and time requirements needed to shop local. What’s a person to do when time and money are in short supply and stress is not lacking?

Based on years of joyful and sometimes highly stressful conditions I can assure you that a good balance can be accomplished. In fact, with patience it can done in such a way that we develop rewarding experience that in some cases produce new relationships that can last for years.

The Small Business Saturday campaigns started in 2010 and have helped bring attention to our small retail business owners. This occasion is promoted for the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The idea being that we should visit our local small retailers and give them an honest opportunity help us with some of holiday shopping.

We all get busy and need a reminder of the importance of supporting our local merchants. Many of which are our neighbors and friends. Now days it’s all too easy to simply go online and find just about anything we want. So why is local so important?

I recently visited with folk artist Charlie and Susan Frye at Folk Keepers Gallery in historic downtown Lenoir. Over the years I have gotten to know them, and I love the art they create. They have been part of some of our TV stories as well as the weekly column. I stop and see them anytime I am in the area because they have become friends. I enjoy doing business with them. Knowing that the holiday sales make up 30-40% of there annual business I want to do what I can to help.

I am setting beside the fireplace at Highlands Coffee shop just down the street from Folk Keepers as I write these words. The owners, Don and Sandra McDonald are wonderful people. The shop is a perfect stop for locals and travelers like me.  I enjoy my visits and always drive away with a smile and a nice memory. Sandra creates tasty treats and her seasonal pumpkin cake makes a great addition to any Christmas gift basket.

Charles and Susan Babb are next door at Charles Babb designs. Charles in always at the top of my list when thinking about a world class ring design. They are fine people who care deeply about doing a top-notch job and to me that matters a lot.

A few of the important things that these three business owners have in common is they are small business owners, they make things we can use and want, and they have become friends that I treasure. They are just a few of the good folks in the Lenoir, the list is long.

I could share similar stories from towns and cities around the Carolinas, it’s just a part of who we are and it’s important that we remember.

As a nation we love to consume. We are driven to have and have more. So, how about we do a good share of our shopping with people we can get to know and build a bit more social capital. Expand our extended families and be around to celebrate the little victories as well as the big ones. Truth be told we all need each other, life is not always easy, and friends are important.  

We are blessed with many wonderful small and local business in the Carolinas. Some will make it, and some may not. If we all do a bit more to balance the scales, we can be a part of building our communities and making a few new friends along the way and that’s a good thing.