With exquisite homes, exclusive country clubs and an enchanting downtown, Danville has much to boast about. But affluence alone does not make this community special. The natural beauty of the area, great schools and solid infrastructure, coupled with a small-town feel, bring a quality of life that is difficult to match. For example, we are blessed to have a downtown that draws visitors from all over, and it's ours to enjoy at any time.
Danville didn't achieve this quality of life by accident; it was achieved through forethought, proper planning and diligent adherence to those plans. We must not take what we have for granted, nor should we become complacent.
Part of the reason our downtown is a destination spot is because of its abundance of locally owned businesses and its lack of national chain stores. From a purely economic standpoint, independent businesses are good for our town because owners "shop locally" when they hire local people. These local businesses also tend to carry more locally made goods, which creates more jobs for local producers.
Beyond economics, locally owned businesses help build a community's character by adding diversity and flavor. When people mention their favorite restaurant or store in passing or in polls such as the Danville Weekly's Readers Choice, they often mention the customer focus of these establishments, which is not as evident in national chain stores.
We are in no way saying there isn't a place or a need for national chain stores; they provide efficiency and predictability. But chain store after chain store creates a very mundane, colorless, "vanilla" landscape.
While there is always a time and place for predictable, efficient "box" stores, the locally owned businesses give us diversity, uniqueness and enhance the character of our community. We embrace the idea of distinctive businesses with local character, and must not forget their survival depends on our patronage.