Best of the Heights: nominate your favorite businesses

One reason FutureHeights began publishing the Heights Observer was to provide an easy and affordable way for local businesses to reach potential customers.

Why? Local merchants are a big part of what gives the Heights its unique atmosphere. By helping those businesses to thrive, the thinking goes, FutureHeights serves the community.

Also, according to a series of well-known studies (, money spent with local independent businesses does more good for the area’s economy than money spent with national chains.

Their overhead expenses are located here, and earnings are more likely to be reinvested here, too, instead of, say, in the opening of a new outlet 1,500 miles away. Local merchants also tend to contribute a larger percentage of their revenue to local causes.

That’s why it’s so hard when a store like Seitz-Agin Hardware closes. Yes, the store stocked products that 100-year-old homes need and that Home Depot can’t be bothered to stock. But just as important, I’m not sure Seitz-Agin’s owner, Joel Borwick, ever said no to anyone who asked for financial support for some local cause.

When you spend money with a local merchant, it’s like having a rebate direct-deposited into your neighborhood.

FutureHeights believes so strongly in this simple dynamic that we put the message on the front page of every edition—right below the name of the paper: READ LOCAL, SHOP LOCAL. All this is a long introduction to this year’s Best of the Heights awards, a program that recognizes our local merchants for the way they serve us.

This year, based on suggestions from residents and previous nominees, the business categories have been revised and the nomination form streamlined to make the process easier and more interesting.

Please take time to fill out the form on pg. 28. If you prefer, you can find it online at

By participating in this celebration of local business, you help to honor the merchants who serve you best, and remind them why they chose the Heights as the place to do business.

To express your opinion privately, e-mail Bob Rosenbaum at To express your opinion as a letter to the editor, register at the Observer Member Center ( and click on “Submit New Story” to contribute your letter.

Bob Rosenbaum

Bob Rosenbaum, chairman of the Observer's editorial advisory committee and FutureHeights board member, writes this column to provide transparency and understanding about the newspaper.

Read More on Opening the Observer
Volume 4, Issue 6, Posted 1:03 PM, 06.01.2011