Letter: Baywater Properties founder says remember to support Darien businesses

Send letters to the editor to: Editor@DarienTimes.com

Send letters to the editor to: Editor@DarienTimes.com

Hearst Connecticut Media

To the Editor:

I am an avid reader and fan of Jim Cameron’s commentary in The Darien Times and elsewhere on the topic of transportation, and I wholeheartedly agree with the headline of his article in The Darien Times, “Nobody does shipping logistics better than Amazon.”

While I agree that Amazon’s infrastructure and approach to its business is a marvel of the modern world, I feel compelled to write my first Letter to the Editor in years to remind your readers of the importance and benefits of shopping locally and supporting Darien-based businesses, especially now as we all work so hard to recover from the damage done to our local business community by COVID-19.

We are so fortunate to live in Darien, a community of people who respect and care for each other, lead by thoughtful governmental leaders. Having worked with so many retailers, restauranteurs and town officials through the course of the pandemic, I could not be more proud of the manner in which we have worked together to weather this storm. Whether it was The Darien Foundation and the Community Fund of Darien working with my team on our Corbin Cares initiatives, Sophie Curtis’s campaign to support local businesses by buying gift certificates, or Nobu Miki’s commitment to donate the proceeds from the sale of her works of art to support Corbin Cares, we saw many, many examples of residents of our community rallying to support those in need around us. We did what Darien people always do when the chips are down - we rallied to help each other.

As Darien’s Sidewalk Sales have just ended, I believe that we need to remind each other of how important it is to support local businesses, and the difference in impact you have when you do, compared to when you point and click on Amazon. Many of our local businesses are owned by residents of Darien, and many of their employees are as well. For every $100 spent in a locally-owned business, I have read that $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you spend the same amount in a national chain, only $43 stays in Darien. I do not know, honestly, what the result is when you spend $100 on Amazon, but I would venture to guess that it is less than $5. Convenience has its benefits, but it comes at a significant, real cost to our community. Many of us are focused upon eating organically, why do we not consider often enough our shopping habits in the same light?

Our local businesses support local charities, sponsor the sports teams that our children play on and provide the character and texture of our town that makes Darien the special place that it is to live and raise a family. Have you ever seen an Amazon Little League team? Or heard of Amazon sponsoring an event to benefit the Darien Land Trust? In speaking with Suzanne Brannan of J. McLaughlin last week, I learned that from October of 2020 through June of 2021, the Darien J. McLaughlin store has donated $23,263 back to local Darien non-profits through their “Sip-n-Shop” events, deserving organizations such as the Darien YMCA, The Darien Community Association, Post 53, Darien Scouting, STAR, Person-2-Person, The Garden Club of Darien and others. When a local family lost their home in a tragic fire, with all of their belongings, a pillar of the Darien retail community offered new wardrobes to each member of this traumatized family, no questions asked. How awesome is that?

Jim, I respect and admire you, and I will do anything I can do to support your mission to shorten the train commute to and from New York City. Let’s marvel at Amazon and enjoy the convenience when necessary, but let’s remember to support out local businesses, especially now, and thank them for all that they do for and in our community.

David Genovese

Founder, Baywater Properties

Co-Developer, The Corbin District