Party on

Jeff vonKaenel

I’m not a big shopper, but when I do shop, I try to shop local. If we’re truly going to build a sustainable community, it’s essential. When we shop for local food, products and services, we support the local business community as well as the environment, since we’re not in our cars driving to, say, San Francisco.

I was once again reminded about these benefits at SN&R’s annual Best of Sacramento party last week at The Sterling Hotel. If you weren’t there, you missed a heck of a party. More than 150 winners of our Best of contest turned out to accept their plaques and have their pictures taken. I’ve gotten to know many of these business owners over the years, and can attest to the fact that shopping local with people you know is far more rewarding than doing business with corporate strangers.

At the party, I chatted with Phil and Mariann Corey from Opa! Opa!, the great Greek restaurant on J Street near Sacramento State. Their faces lit up when I told them I thoroughly enjoy their vegetarian moussaka.

Having recently enjoyed an unbelievable trout sandwich at Magpie Caterers Market and Cafe, which features locally grown affordable food, it was enlightening to meet owners Janel Inouye and Ed Roehr, both of whom attended UC Santa Cruz and are now using their degrees in economics and social science to change the world, one bite at a time.

Stephan White, owner of Best Auto Repair recipient Stephan’s Auto Haus, once fixed my broken taillight in a mere 20 minutes, despite the fact that his shop was going crazy that day, with one worker out with a sick dog, and everyone and their brothers waiting to get their cars fixed.

After talking with Daryl Roper and John Wilson, owners of G Spot (Best Sex Toy Shop), I had a better understanding of the positive difference their store has made in both men’s and women’s lives.

Another Best of attendee was Sharif of Sharif Jewelers, winner for Best Jeweler. I’ve gotten to know him at the numerous events I’ve attended at the local Muslim mosque. He comes from a long line of jewelers, and his relatives continue to ply their trade around the world. It’s easy to appreciate Sharif’s tremendous generosity in the community as well as his sense of humor. He did a phenomenal job restoring a ring given to me by a Hindu religious leader when I was in India.

I could go on and on. Shopping local not only gives me a connection to the environment, but it also gives me a connection to my community. I feel good about the people who I spend money with and the things that I buy. It just goes to show that there’s no reason why becoming a more sustainable community has to be unpleasant. In fact, it’s a joy.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.