It Takes a Village to Save a Village

By Gwyn Lurie   |   April 23, 2020

The world is going LOCAL. Or at least it should be. Every day we have more proof that food, information, energy infrastructure, and leadership have the most integrity and most power to do good when they have the least distance to travel. When it’s locally sourced. Distance dissipates. It is a fact of life. How communities rise to this moment will make all the difference in determining who and what is left standing when we come out of this me. And by who and what I mean the whole shebang – individuals, businesses, our customs and our ways of life.

As members of our local press we feel a profound responsibility not only to keep our community well informed, but to link arms with every other stakeholder in this disaster to ensure that our community emerges from this moment poised for success.

It’s easy to take for granted our strolls down Coast Village Road and Montecito’s Upper Village shopping areas; popping in and out of our charming shops and eating in our delicious restaurants. Just as it is easy to take for granted the majesty of our natural environment – our beaches, our mountains, our vistas, our streams.

But here’s the painful truth: if we don’t step up and support our local businesses, we won’t have local businesses. It’s all too easy to forget that connection when we’re busy 1-click ordering. But the nice way we feel when we walk into those lovingly curated, unique stores and restaurants will be merely a memory, and what we’ll be left with is on-line shopping and chain stores and restaurants with deep corporate pockets and headquarters far away. Let’s not even go there.

Montecito Community is Stepping up to Keep our Businesses Alive!

Thanks to Zoom, a company I wish I had the foresight to invest in prior to this pandemic, this past Friday morning the Montecito Journal hosted a virtual meeting for members of the Montecito business community to brainstorm ideas to support local business.

Montecito Journal hosted a Zoom meeting for members of the Montecito business community to brainstorm ideas to support local business during this time

It is a testament to this community’s desire to help figure this out that close to 100 Montecito business leaders, along with elected and other officials including Congressman Salud Carbajal, County Supervisor Das Williams, Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo and SB City Council member Alejandra Gutierrez attended the meeting. Also on the call were Montecito Association Executive Director Sharon Byrne, MA Board President and Chief Strategy Officer for Montecito Bank and Trust Megan Orloff, and Montecito Fire Chief Kevin Taylor. As well as Coast Village Association President Bob Ludwick, business owner Kevin Frank, and local realtor Sandy Stahl – to name just a few who’ve stepped up to help lead the effort to support our businesses through this trying time. So how can we – and you – make a difference? On the weekend beginning May 1, the Montecito Journal along with the Montecito business community, the Coast Village Association, the Montecito Association, and the 93108 Fund are sponsoring….

The Montecito May Day Cash Mob!

The idea is to provide an easy way for folks to purchase one or more gift certificates for a Montecito business where you know you will want to shop once the quarantine has ended: a restaurant, a clothing store, a jewelry store, a wine shop, an art gallery, a home furnishing boutique, a stationery store, a book store, a lingerie shop (you will feel like putting it on again), a nail salon, a beauty salon, a gas station.

Here in California we’re doing an excellent job flattening the corona curve, now let’s help fill the cashflow crater for our ailing businesses. All the businesses I just mentioned need your support and now is the time to show your love! By helping infuse our local businesses with cash flow NOW you help these businesses avoid cratering so they are still there for us when we emerge from quarantine. And I’m not just talking about these establishments. I’m talking about their extended work families as well.

On or after Wednesday, April 29, GO TO and you will find a pull-down menu from which you can click on any of the businesses you care to support. The money you pay for your gift certificate will be funneled directly to the businesses you identify RIGHT NOW – when they need it most. No fuss no muss.

In addition, anyone who buys at least one gift certificate for $500 or more will be invited to a Zoom Celebration on Sunday, May 3, at 7 pm. At this virtual celebration, we will raffle off a few fun prizes for which you are made eligible simply by purchasing a gift certificate for $500 dollars or more. It will be a chance to connect with friends and neighbors over a very worthy cause!

Just a Thought in Case Someone from the County is Reading:

I want to throw out one more idea that has emerged from our ongoing thinking and was well received in our community Zoom call on Friday: It is fortunate that through home delivery and take out that restaurants have had a way to pivot their businesses during this time. It would be helpful to all of us who are trying to stay safe, if County Health officials could devise a simple method to give a COVID-SAFE stamp of approval to restaurants. This might give added assurance to even more customers that it is safe to order take out, and that restaurants are preparing food to the highest possible current health standards.


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