Over the past year and a half, I have begun dabbling in brewing my own beer. What began as a mild desire to sample new types of adult beverages quickly grew into an imposing need to craft my own, custom concoctions. I know that I am not alone in this concept, as my town has recently seen an increase in craft breweries, liquor stores with more diverse selections, and shops wholly dedicated to the home brewer’s needs.
Around the same time that I began my adventures in fermentation, my fiancée and I decided to move in together. With two growing lads at home, and the constant loss of friends and loved ones to disease – especially cancer – we have made a concerted effort to improve our family’s diet through the increased purchase of organic food, whenever possible. In this I also know that we are not alone, due to the recent success of new grocery chains in my hometown such as Sprout’s and Natural Grocer’s, as well as a dramatic change in the natural and organic selections at the existing grocery stores. Even Wal-Mart has gotten on the organic wagon.
Just before Easter of this year, our family took a field trip to the local Tractor Supply. We came home with 6 baby chicks and everything we needed to raise our little brood. Being the math person that I am, I crunched the numbers and found that the couple hundred dollar initial investment in the young hens, coop, and food and water accessories would save us hundreds of dollars over the price of organic eggs that our household devours on a daily basis. Whereas a few years ago I would have needed to custom order my chicks and meet the postmaster at midnight to get them, I can now go to any of a dozen stores in my county to make the same purchase.
I say this with complete love and adoration: my fiancée is mildly addicted to Pinterest. She finds ideas for things on her Pinterest App and I make them. If I can’t make them, or don’t have the time, we find someone who is offering the thing or something similar on Etsy. We frequently visit Hobby Lobby and At Home Furnishings, looking for and occasionally finding that unique piece for our home, but we also shop on eBay and Amazon each a few times a month.
We’re not hippies nor hipsters. We’re just small town people who are interested in providing the best possible life for our family. We like to cook and imbibe, and we want the best possible ingredients in the food and drink that our house consumes. We want to make dishes and serve flavors that are unique to our kitchen, and we take pride in that. We want our home to fit our style, and we don’t settle for the run of the mill décor that everyone else has.
So what does that mean for corporate America today?I just read an article this morning that Sports Authority will soon be closing all of their 460 locations, following bankruptcy filings by Aeropostale and Pacific Sunwear. My own former employer, The Roomstore of Arizona furniture retailer, filed bankruptcy in December and is scheduled to shutter the last of their 12 stores by July. If this is foreshadowing of what is to come, I see a trend.
Call them millennials, the MTV Generation, or Generations X, Y, or Z, a substantial chunk of today’s economy is controlled by people who are clamoring for a change. The way our parents and grandparents thought and shopped is going by the wayside, and the style of doing business is evolving to accommodate this change. Technology has fostered this new mindset, exposing us to thoughts, ideas, and products from around the world. You could say it’s only going to get worse, but I say it’s only going to get better.
Gone are the days of buying the first shirt I sort of like at the local box retailer, because I can go online and find one that I like better.
Never again will I be limited to the produce that is in season in my region, because I can go to the grocery across the street and try something exotic from halfway around the world.
I’m done paying for organic eggs, because I’d rather just grab some fresh every morning from the coop in my backyard.
I will never drink a Bud Light again, because I have a half dozen local breweries making something fresh and new right down the street, or I will just order some rare hops from Bulgaria and make my own.
The selection of boring brown furniture and plain accessories at the local stores just won’t suffice, and I will make something, repurpose and “upcycle” something, or buy something that is fun and different.
And I know I’m not alone, because the businesses who refuse to change are going by the wayside, and the ones who are adapting to the new model have surpassed the competition and are thriving in the new economy of today.