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Don't Take Advantage of Your Local Businesses

If you support your local businesses, how do those businesses support you?

Most small businesses are woven into the fabric of small commmunties. Sometimes the owner lives in the town; sometimes they don't. Either way, we are active in the community of our business, the local churches, schools, business associations and community groups. We notice when someone moves out of town, gets sick, or worse, dies.

With that said, most small businesses can't help or get involved in every fundraiser or community activity we are asked about. But most businesses like mine will take special care to support the groups and people that support them.

But what exactly is involved in supporting a business?

I don't think its a quid-pro-quo situation. If you go to your local business and buy $35 worth of food, sporting equipment or flowers, don't expect a $35 donation towards your child's kindergarden graduation lunch. Don't forget that business has overhead to deal with and is propably lucky to keep $7 of that $35 you just paid.

Just as importantly, if you frequent a local business day after day for a cup of coffee, or year after year for Molly's new soccer cleats, you should expect that merchant to support you in the same way. When you ask for a donation for your group, you should get it.

That's how local businesses become part of the community. It's not providing a service like dinner or a baseball glove; you can get that at any big-box chain store. They're easy to find but they're not part of our little towns.

It's the interaction with the owner of the corner flower shop who knows exactly which flowers your wife likes in the bouquet or the waitress who saves your table every Tuesday night. 

(I write this self-serving speech hoping that one person in particular reads it—because if she's used up any goodwill I have for her, and in turn, her group. Sad, too, because I'm sure there are some good people in her organization.)

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This week's recommendation is for SJ Hot Chefs, which will celebrate its Farm to Fork Week July 22 to 28.

As folks become increasingly interested in where their food comes from, and as our chefs discover the joys of working with locally grown ingredients, we at sjhotchefs strive to work closely with local farmers to bring you the freshest fruits and produce available.

Working with local farmers has many benefits, including increased quality and variety of produce, less waste, and bolstering the local economy. If you enjoy the fact that we are buying from the farmer down the street, and that we offer a better product as a result, we hope you can come celebrate this partnership with us.

Elements will be offering a special five course tasting menu, featuring the best food the South Jersey region has to offer, for just $35 per person.

Interested? Check out the full menu at our website and call for your reservations today!

Fred Kellermann is the owner and chef de cuisine at Elements Cafe in Haddon Heights. He is also the president of SJ Hot Chefs, and urges you to support your local restaurant with your dining-out dollars.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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