This week, Darien’s downtown developers and business owners discussed their reaction to a new mall opening in South Norwalk.

They overall expressed little concern on the impact the new mall might have on the Darien shopping experiences. However, that shouldn’t mean that Darien residents shouldn’t make sure to shop local as often as possible.

Mall or not, the retail business is a tough one at all times — but even tougher for Darien restaurants and retailers in July and August. Darien is lucky to have downtown developers like David Genovese, Penny Glassmeyer and the Dolcettis, who put thought and care into their projects and make sure they fit into the town they call home. They design an experience that is uniquely Darien and will continue to do so.

Still, these quiet summer months are tough, and while some of us might be out of town a lot of the time, when we come home, we need to eat and shop local.

Next week is the state-wide tax free week — during which Darien and Connecticut residents can shop tax free for certain items. If you are doing back to school shopping, it might be tempting to do it at a nearby larger mall or box store, but Darien also has options for that. Take advantage of the tax-free week to visit your varied local retailers.

It is important for Darien to shop and dine local during the quiet months — especially because, much like the winter, many Darien residents head for other locales when school is out. Summertime is great for Nantucket, the Cape or Rhode Island, or other areas of commerce, but it is not great for your favorite restaurant, gift shop, clothing boutique, or wine purveyor.

Stop in when you are home to visit — eat a meal out or buy a gift for a friend. These individual efforts can add up to keeping a business alive during quieter times.

Darien’s downtown and other retail areas are more robust in terms of options and offerings than ever right now. If you want to keep it that way, make sure you support your local businesses, and recommend them to your neighboring friends as well.

There are changes coming to downtown Darien — and they are good changes. Keep the downtown vibrant by putting back in what you as residents get out of the downtown experience.

Shop, dine and support local. These are your friends and your neighbors. Make sure you keep it that way.