In support of local businesses

One reason FutureHeights launched the Heights Observer was to encourage community dialogue and engagement among Heights residents—engagement with the local government, community and businesses. Another reason was to serve those businesses.

The local commercial base is a big part of what gives the Heights its unique character. By helping those businesses thrive, the thinking goes, FutureHeights helps maintain the community’s charm.

There’s also an economic justification. A series of well-known urban planning studies have demonstrated that money spent at local merchants is worth more to a community than money spent at national chains.

In one such study, the strategic planning firm Civic Economics ( calculated that for every $100 spent at a local business in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, $68 recirculated in the local economy—as compared with just $43 for money spent at a chain store in the same neighborhood.

Our merchants generously support local causes, respect their customers, and provide goods and services national chains do not. They add variety to streetscapes, pay local taxes and provide jobs. They are our friends and neighbors. Every time we buy from a local merchant, we enrich our community and ourselves.

The Heights Observer gives these businesses an easy and cost-effective way in which to market themselves; and the newspaper thrives on the money businesses spend to do so. Ten local businesses advertised in the first issue of the Observer, 23 months ago. We currently average 45 advertisers per issue—and that number is still growing. The Observer is pleased to have the support of these businesses, and is equally pleased for the opportunity to support them.

We also want to thank the businesses that support us by serving as distribution points for the newspaper. Many are advertisers, but with more than 200 places where you can pick up the Observer, most of them aren’t . . . yet. For a full list of Observer distribution points, go to and click on the "About Us" link.

Please join me in thanking our local merchants for doing what they do so well. I hope, too, that you’ll join me in giving them preference whenever you make a purchase.

Bob Rosenbaum, chairman of the newspaper’s Editorial Advisory Committee and a member of the FutureHeights board, writes this monthly column to provide transparency about the Heights Observer. Send your comments and questions to

You can write for the Heights Observer by registering at the Member Center at

Read More on Opening the Observer
Volume 3, Issue 3, Posted 11:53 AM, 02.21.2010