Martin: Don’t just shop in Selma, eat in Selma too

Published 8:10 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2017

By Jerria Martin | Martin is a minister and director of Drug Free Communities of Dallas County

Most leaders will encourage you to “Shop Selma,” which I do often, but I just love “Eating Selma.”As a matter of fact, I had lunch in downtown Selma this week and it was awesome.

It wasn’t just the delicious grilled cheese sandwich, whose warm gooey goodness blessed the depths of my soul, but the special greeting and hug I received upon entering from the owner, the many familiar faces smiling back at me as I shared a friendly greeting with them, seeing every sector of our community pour in, in the Christmas spirit, spreading joy and laughter, receiving that same special treatment as they entered was what amazed me.

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For that moment in time, Charlie’s Place, felt like Jerria’s Place, Mike’s Place, Selma’s Place. I’ve heard so many people complain about not having big chain restaurants locally.

I don’t have a problem with these type of businesses, however, even when I put on my best clothes and wear my prettiest smile, I’ve never had this type of special treatment at an Applebee’s, Outback or Red Lobster. We must realize what a treat we have in Selma in our many locally owned restaurants.

When we’re asked to name our favorite Selma restaurant, cafe or shop, it’s invariably a unique local business. Our local paper’s “Best of” poll is proof. Those businesses define our sense of place, but we often forget their survival depends on our patronage.

Did you know that dollars spent at community-based merchants create a multiplier in the local economy, meaning that from each dollar spent at a local independent merchant, 2 to 3.5 recirculates in the local economy compared to a dollar spent at chain-owned businesses? This “local multiplier effect” means shifting more local purchasing to independent businesses is a key tool for creating more local jobs.

Moreover, local owners, typically having invested most of their life savings in their businesses, have a natural interest in our community’s long-term health.

Community-based businesses are also quite essential to our community’s charitable endeavors; their owners frequently serve on local boards and support several community causes.
Thus, as we head into the holiday season, don’t just shop Selma, take a break from slaving over that hot stove and “Eat Selma.”

We have so many awesome restaurants where we can entrust our local chefs to provide a fine meal, made with love, in a family friendly, unique atmosphere, with the greatest southern hospitality: the Tally Ho, Sand Bar, Side Porch Sandwiches, All in One, Lannies, Hancock’s, and the list goes on.

So grab your family and friends with the biggest appetite, put on your “fat pants” and help stimulate our economy, because there is mouthwatering, lip smacking, finger-licking hope in “Eating Selma.”