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Today’s Occupy Pottstown event was not the usual demonstration or rally. Instead, Occupy Pottstown members shopped and dined downtown from 10am until 1pm. The emphasis of today’s event was to support downtown merchants and let them know Occupy Pottstown members are committed to shopping locally first, when possible. In other words, walk the talk.
Occupy Pottstown members distributed literature downtown ahead of today’s event and had the support of PDIDA and many merchants. Occupy members wore identification tags so that local merchants could see the tangible impact organizing an event like this would have. Occupy members were greeted with enthusiasm by local merchants.
There are actually more businesses downtown than I realized. We had no trouble spending three hours shopping. Some new businesses have sprung up including one new store selling fresh fruit, produce and baked goods at very reasonable prices. The group I walked around with did not have time to visit every store downtown. That just leaves more for the next trip :)
After today, several members have decided to do as much of their Christmas shopping downtown as possible. Supporting Pottstown’s existing businesses will encourage other entrepreneurs to consider opening a new business in Pottstown. I would say the four people in my group easily spent $250 downtown today. Imagine if a few hundred people would regularly shop downtown on a Saturday! Imagine if only 10% of Pottstown’s 22,377 residents shopped downtown regularly.
I can happily report my group was not bothered by any panhandlers while we shopped. There were a few people “hanging around” but they kept to themselves or just said “hello”. It was a very pleasant experience.