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The blog post below is first in what will be a series of employee-written blog posts. This post is written by Paula Milsted, who serves as the director of marketing for Chesapeake Bank. She celebrated her 12th anniversary with Chesapeake Bank in April 2014. Paula lives in Warsaw with her family and works in Kilmarnock. Here, she talks about why shopping local is so important.

I grew up on a farm outside a small town in Northwestern Pennsylvania, not unlike the town in which I live now.  Growing up we were able to go town (meaning the small town) to get groceries, go to the drugstore, visit the dentist, shop for cards, party supplies and gifts, hang out at the local Pizza Pad and play the jukebox, rent videos next door and run to the ATM at the community bank across the street for more money to do all of those things.  We even had a movie theater in this little town.

As I grew older, the next larger town down the road started opening up Walmart, Home Depot, Giant Eagle (large grocery), Blockbuster, an AMC movie theater and more.  One by one each of the businesses mentioned above closed and have left main street looking like a scene from Stephen King's The Stand. Well, maybe not that bad, but you get my point.

This town had hidden charm that I hope will come back someday.  I don’t think the community fully understood the impact they were having on their town until it became what it is today.  A community group has formed to bring this town back to the charming small PA town it once was.  I look forward to the resurgence of this little town.  It takes a lot more work to bring it back than it does to maintain.

And, that is why shopping local is so important to us!  We all live and work in charming 'small' towns (yes, even Williamsburg counts as a small town with all of its charm).  Shop Local Day is a way to raise awareness within our communities about the importance of preserving this charm and maintaining our livelihood, character, economic stability, product diversity and the community's well-being.

So, think about starting with your local shops when finding those groceries, that appliance part, the perfect gift, a gift certificate or a place to have lunch.  You will make a difference and can feel good about supporting your friend, neighbor, civic leader and charming community.