I was alerted to this whole sordid affair by one little Tweet, which linked to a short blog post with the catchy subject “Amazon redefines the dick move”.

The blog post speaks to two dick moves, really:

1. Amazon is now a supporter the Main Street Fairness act, having reversed its position.  I ranted on this topic previously, and I’ll touch on Amazon’s role reversal in a future post. But this is not the dick move I want to talk about today.
2. Amazon recently encouraged shoppers to go into other businesses, scan prices there, then leave and buy the item on Amazon and save up to $15. You can Google “Amazon price check” and come up with dozens of articles full of righteous indignation.  This is the dick move I want to talk about.

Let me begin by saying that I think Amazon is brilliant. I am an Amazon customer, and quite often at that.  I probably won’t boycott Amazon over this, it’s simply not practical.  And perhaps most importantly, as terrible as their inducement was, the real culprits here are consumers. Period.  If you behaved the way Amazon wanted you to behave with this promotion, then you are a dick, plain and simple.  Amazon was simply the serpent offering you the forbidden fruit.

The sin I define as channel surfing is pretty easy to describe, and it’s basically the case where a consumer shops in one channel (brick-and-mortar store, usually), then consumates the purchase in a different, less expensive channel (an online only retailer, usually).  There are degrees of it, and to be fair, I don’t lump all of them together.  If you accidentally and casually encounter a product, take a glance, then go away and later decide to buy it, searching for the best price along the way, that’s one thing.  I’m talking about a more egregious behavior, one that in your heart of hearts, you know is wrong: Shopper wants to see a product.  Sets out deliberately to see a specific thing.  Want to touch it, feel it, see it work.  Wants to ask lots of questions of somebody who knows a lot about the product.  The leaves and searches for the absolute lowest price that can be obtained, usually with an internet retailer.

That, my friends, is really just theft of services.

The merchant you visited has a physical store that costs money.  They have employees to help you, none of whom are volunteering their time.  They have their working capital invested in the inventory you lay your grubby mitts upon.  The price they charge for the item has all those costs built into it, which is why it’s higher than the retailer who takes your money and has the product drop shipped to you.

So ask yourself, are you this kind of shopper?  We see them occasionally, usually with big ticket brewers and grinders. Waste an hour of my time, have me demo a machine that I’ll no longer be able to sell as new, then go buy it online for $20 less.  As if my space, time and working capital weren’t worth $20.  If you do this, there’s a special place in hell for you.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against bargain shopping.  If you want a low price, by all means, avail yourself of the online shopping options.  But be intellectually honest about it.  Be courageous and buy the thing sight-unseen.  Pick a retailer that offers a return policy you like, if you really want that kind of insurance.  But please don’t unfairly waste the time and resources of a business that has made a real investment in satisfying your need for tangible products and information.  Because it’s just not fair, plain and simple.




First, we swear this is not some kind of scam.  American Express and we have unintentionally created a situation where you can get $25 worth of coffee COMPLETELY FREE this Saturday only.  They’re doing their thing, and we’re doing ours, and it just so happens that if you take advantage of both you score $25 worth of merchandise for FREE.  Here’s how it works:

1. First, you need to register your AMEX card with AMEX at this link.

2. Next, shop our store, online (I personally phoned AMEX merchant services to verify the credit applied to online purchases), or in person, on SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26TH.  This is the day AMEX has designated as Small Business Saturday (aka Shop Small Saturday), and they have generously offered to give $25 statement credits to customers shopping at participating small businesses.

3.  Make a $25 minimum purchase.

4.  If your purchase is going to be shipped, use coupon code “freeshipping” to remove shipping charges from your order.  We are offering free shipping on orders over $25 all weekend.

5.  You will receive a $25 statement credit from American Express.

6.  Please considerdoing some or all of your holiday shopping this season with small businesses. AMEX has a small biz locator you can use to look up businesses by zip code.

Note that you can order from our site with separate Bill To and Ship To addresses, so you can have your purchase shipped directly to a gift recipient.  If it is a gift, let us know in the checkout comments so we put a packing list and not a paid invoice in the box.  No free gift wrap, though 😉


Our "home market" (and favorite, candidly), Western Wake Farmers' Market

Yesterday marked the end of our fourth regular farmers’ market season.   Over the years, we’ve sold at many regional markets, and we’ve learned a thing or two about the ins and outs of selling at markets and festivals.  Here are my observations on the good, the bad, and the ugly of having farmers’ markets as part of your livelihood.

The Good

1.  The customers.  I was interviewed recently, and asked what I liked best about our small business.  It only took me a second to realize it’s the customers.  You meet some of the nicest people at farmers’ markets.  Really.

2. It creates a healthy, pleasant habit.  Before we started our business, we were market shoppers.  But it’s fair to say we weren’t market regulars. Working in farmers’ markets forces you to shop there, if for no other reason than you don’t have time to go elsewhere.  After four years of eating exclusively farmers’ market foods, we feel better.  Period.  And it’s one of the few places anymore where you can linger for hours (as a customer, too), have pleasant conversation, and not spend a fortune.

3. It puts you in synch with time and place as it relates to your food, and makes you a more discerning consumer.  We are now exquisitely sensitive to locale, seasonality, producer, and quality.  Having foods out of context (wrong place, wrong time) now seems odd.

4.  It’s less expensive.  I realize this statement is not viewed universally as an immutable truth.  But I’ve analyzed it extensively for our family, and even started a separate blog (http://foodwhisperer.wordpress.com) dedicated to helping people get the same results we get.

5.  You experience a sense of community.  Honestly, this is our version of church.  Getting together once a week with people who believe the same things you believe, forming friendships, and working toward a greater good are common to both organized religion and farmers’ market communities.

The Bad

Being a farmers’ market aficionado is not without drawbacks, but it’s fair to say I would put most of those negatives in the same category as “overused strengths”.

1.  It becomes difficult to eat away from home.  Seriously.  The extraordinarily poor quality of the average American diet becomes a bigger issue to overlook once you’ve experienced the profound difference of eating seasonally and locally.  I know this sounds like a bizarre concern, but after a few years of eating well it becomes a real issue.  And if you have young children, it’s a challenge to keep them from blurting out the obvious in public or with friends.  My daughters have on a few occasions done things like call supermarket mozzarella on a friend’s caprese salad “plastic cheese” , and asked my mother in January “where did you get asparagus this time of year?”.  From the mouths of babes…

2.  It’s a tough way to make a living.  Selling at farmers’ markets is seriously hard work, and the pay is pretty paltry.  The expenses are not insignificant, either.  Market fees alone are about $1000 a season (per market).  Then there’s equipment, especially trucks, since you need one for each market that is happening simultaneously (and they all want seem to want to be on Saturday mornings).  Even the “minor” expenses aren’t minor – $50 tables last a few seasons, a $250 tent might be good for 2 or maybe 3 seasons, we need lots of $100 coffee urns that get banged up pretty good in a season, totes to carry things in are $30-50 each… the list goes on.  Then there’s labor, insurance, and more.

3.  Not all customers are nice.  Even though I said (and meant) above that the customers are the best part of farmers’ markets, there are a few bad eggs.  All I’ll says is it’s amazing what some people expect for for a few bucks.

The Ugly

State Market, raleigh, NC. This is the WalMart of farmers' markets.

1.  The way some markets are run is stupid and/or corrupt.  I’m speaking primarily about markets where government has a hand in them somehow.  I understand it’s the prerogative of private operators to create any rules or fees they desire, or even act on whims when they want to, especially as it relates to the admission of vendors (or not) to a market.  But once a government invests in a market, my opinion is that they have an obligation to provide a good return on investment to their constituents, and to allow reasonable access to vendors who are part of the tax base that pays for the market.  In my opinion, most government-involved markets do neither.  The NC state market is, in my opinion, one of the most poorly managed public resources in the state, to the point I would call the management at best incompetent, and more likely corrupt, based on my own experiences with them, and the experiences of friends I trust.  And complaints to the Commissioner of Agriculture evoke exactly the response you would expect: cricket chirping.

2.  Save the world mentalities.  I suppose this is the other side of the “farmers’ markets are like churches” coin.  Bright, passionate, opinionated people tend to have a missionary zeal to share their opinions with everyone, and if possible, force everyone to have behave in the ways they think are right.  The problem is, when the do so, inevitably the Law of Unintended Consequences kicks in.  The recently enacted S-510 food safety legislation is a good example.  In response to food safety problems (which were the result of things that were already illegal), people (including farmers’ market people) pushed legislators into enacting tougher food safety laws.  The result for most producers is simply higher costs without improved safety.  Now they’re at it again with GMO labeling.  The sad (pathetic?) part of it is that nothing currently prevents them from seeking out the producers who do things the way they favor, from creating the food communities they want, educating people, and eating the foods they think are safe.  Instead, it’s all about imposing their world view on mainstream shoppers.  And they talk about it like there is only upside, while failing to acknowledge the likely, nay, inevitable downside consequences of their proposed mandates.

3.  Farmers growing real food are struggling more than ever.  When I say real food, I mean vegetables you can actually eat, which the USDA ironically calls “specialty crops”.  We’ve watched our CSA partners over 4 years lose about 30% of their customer base.  We personally know farmers on the verge of bankruptcy, and others who need food stamps to make ends meet.  Farming has always been tough, but I think the past few years have taken tough to a new level.

So how does all this relate to you?

Well, potentially in a few ways:

1.  If you’re thinking about becoming a market vendor, inquire informally with other vendors and the market management about your chances of being admitted.  For a good, established market, your odds are a little better than hitting the lottery, but for sure it’s not a slam dunk.

2.  If you’re looking for a positive life change, become a regular market shopper.  It’s pretty much all upside as a consumer.

Hope to see you at a farmers’ market soon!


We have historically had a small number of customers who want their coffee light.  Painfully light.  Just dark enough to make it possible to grind.  This group of customers was always small enough that we dealt with them as custom orders whenever they made the request.

In the past months, however, we’ve found that population of customers growing.  So to more efficiently meet the desires of this growing contingent of light roast lovers, we’ve decided to try having a light roast day every two weeks.

Here’s how it will work.  The product can now be purchased on our web site (click HERE).  We will queue up orders for two weeks, then roast only those that ordered.  Each batch will be something selected especially by the Roastmaster for its excellent taste as a light roast coffee.

The next roast date for Painfully Light Coffee will be Thursday, November 10th.  That batch will be a beautiful washed Ethiopia Yirgacheffe.

If you prefer your coffee roasted light, why don’t you plan to get in on our experiment?


In response to this growing demand, we’ve decided to start offer

If you’re one of the 99% (and face it, 99% of us are), you’re at least giving thought to how to save money in your daily life.  And if you listen to financial sages like Suze Ormon, sooner or later they all get around to telling you to skimp on coffee.

You know what we say to that?  NONSENSE.  That’s what we say.  You can have your coffee, and watch your pennies, too.  Here are some ways to drink great coffee and not break the bank:

5. Commit to making your own great coffee, from scratch (i.e., from beans).  With all due respect to our customers who brew and serve coffee for a living, it is more expensive for you as a consumer.  So while you’re still likely to buy your fix in an airport, there is no need for you to do so when you’re in town.  And the rise of single cup formats like Keurig may be convenient, but they are expensive (usually 50 cents or more per cup).

4. Get good gear that suits your quantity needs.  The aisles of Macys are full of fancy brewers that tend to have one thing in common: they brew a lot of coffee at one time.  A Hario pour-over cone, or a small Bodum French press are more ideally suited to most coffee drinkers.  You make what you need and no more.

3. Use your leftover coffee.  Chill and save it for iced coffee.  Reheat it (yeah, I said it, so strike me with lightening and get it over with).

2. Use your coffee grinds.  They make great garden compost, fridge deodorizer, and wood stain alternative.  Check out this video.

1. Form a relationship with your local roaster to get the freshest, most enjoyable coffee, the most variety, and the beenfit of their advice on how to maximize your enjoyment in a way that meets you budget.



17 of the best small coffee companies in the nation, says CNN Money and Fortune

Anyway… our little company has gotten quite a bit of news coverage in the past three weeks.  First, we were recognized by CNN Money and Fortune as being among the top 17 small coffee companies in the nation.  Then, in a bit of pretzel logic, we were suddenly discovered by the local media, even though we had shared a backyard for going on five years.  Slightly different versions of our story made it to The Cary News, The Charlotte Observer, The News & Observer (Raleigh), and even some I’ve not listed because I never heard of them before (so we’re even, I guess).

This notoriety has led to an uptick in our social media followers, some of whom have expressed a desire for reciprocity.  As a company that cut its teeth in 2006, we have been on the leading edge of social media – we’re heavy users, and it’s worked quite well for us.  We’ve built an active and engaged follower base, and that doesn’t happen by accident.  Or by simple reciprocity.  So I thought this would be a good time to share our social media return following strategy, so as to save the bungee followers some trouble (if you want to follow me because you like our posts and don’t expect reciprocity, that’s totally cool, but I’m finding this new group of followers aren’t those people).  Recognizing that Twitter and Facebook are different animals, I’ve broken them out, and I’ll mention the “others” category toward the end of this post.


Twitter can either be like speed dating (“Hi! Do you like sushi? Gotta go!”), or like a bunch of short yet valued notes from like-minded people who know each other (“FYI, thought you’d find this interesting. J.”)  Which one do you want more of?  Yeah, us too.

So how do I decide whether to return your unsolicited follow?

1.  I read your bio. It should be at least mildly amusing, or if it’s dead serious, it had better be about a topic I care about (hint: I don’t care about real estate, SEO or MLM).  If you wonder whether your tweet stream is one that would interest me, read my tweets, just a few dozen of them at least.

2. I look at your location.  If you’re local, I’ll probably return the follow.  At least for a while.

3. I look to see if you tweet.  If you don’t, I don’t follow – you have nothing to share.

4.  I look to see if your tweets are protected.  If they are, I don’t follow. Protected tweets defeat the purpose of social networking, in my opinion.  If I follow you and you have protected tweets, that means I added you a long time ago when I was still trying to figure this stuff out.

5.  I read your tweet stream, at least the last couple dozen.  If you make me smile, include a link I click, or generally seem interesting and contain some original material, I’ll follow.

6.  I look at the frequency of your tweets.  If it’s not too much, and you meet criteria #5, I’ll follow.  If you blast 20 tweets a minute, I won’t follow, because you’ll fill up my screen.  That’s the digital equivalent of invading my personal space.

7.  I look at how much you retweet.  If it’s some, that’s great.  If it’s none, or all, that’s unacceptable.  You have to have a mix of original material and shared material.  That’s the way the system works.

8.  I look to see if you’re a business partner of some sort.  If you are, you’re in.  If you’re not, that means you have to meet the other criteria to get a return follow.


Facebook is for a different audience, one that’s more engaged.  It’s a place for slightly longer discussions and slightly more information sharing.  So how do we decide to “Like” your business page (we can’t “Friend” or “Like” individuals, that’s not the way Facebook works)?

9.  If you’re a business partner of some sort, we’ll Like you.  We stretch the definition of “business partner” pretty far.

10.  If you promote us, we’ll Like you.  So I guess maybe we are a little tit for tat after all, at least on Facebook.


There are numerous other social media players, both existing and emerging.  We try to keep up with what’s out there, and what’s up and coming.  Here’s where we stand on some of the others:
LinkedIn: Like watching paint dry.  I’ve never seen a more boring forum.  Can’t go there without falling asleep.
Location based services (FourSquare, Gowalla, FB Checkin): still trying to figure out the utility of these.  I’ve been an active user of all of them for the past 6 months.  Honestly, I still don’t really get it, but I get the sense that there’s something there, it just has to reach some kind of critical mass.
Google+: Tried it.  Don’t get it.  Nobody I know seems to be there.  Don’t have the energy to bear with it.  Could change, in which case I’ll revisit it.

So that’s it in a nutshell.  We’re trying to use a logical, principled return follow strategy, and it seems to be working for us.  What do you do on this topic at your business?


Bridge over the Tiber in Trastevere neighborhood.

Our most recent trip to Italy was after a fairly long hiatus – it had 5 years since our previous trip. My first morning, in Pisa, I realized that the coffee was… different than the last time I was there. I chalked it up normal variability, and got on with the trip. But over several days, in several cities, it became obvious to me that Italian coffee had changed. Not better. Not worse. But different.

As an Italian myself, I realized this should be no surprise. While Italians certainly value tradition, there are less “sacred cows” than people might think. Italians are adaptable, and pragmatic. And it dawned on me, the tradition is the coffee ritual, not the coffee itself.

It turns out that the Italian coffee industry, and the coffee industry worldwide, have experienced a few changes in the last half decade that have resulted in changes to Italy’s coffee sourcing. So the contemporary Italian espresso is a different coffee than it was five years ago. As it happens, I like it better now, and was possessed to do something like it.

The result is a blend we call Trastevere: Contemporary Roman Espresso. Named after the edgy, trendy neighborhood on the banks of the Tiber, it evokes the same nature as that place: rooted in tradition, but young, hip, and beautiful. We intend that this blend will evolve over time; contemporary, and excellent.

Nightlife in Trastevere

Death of a Customer

A note from Gayla, on the Chatham Street Cafe web site

Not literally, thank God.  But the death of a business is a sad thing, too.  And today I can tell you what we’ve known was coming for about a month now: the Chatham Street Cafe in downtown Cary is closed.

We like all of our customers (it’s true, really), but Chatham Street occupied a special place in our hearts. Because they were our first commercial customer.  Gayla Bonke, owner and chef extraordinaire, took a chance on us before anyone else would.  And for that we will always be grateful.

My thought in making this post was to pull out the soapbox.  To give you the locavore, small business speech, the one where I remind you that you can make a difference with your purchasing decisions.

But as I type this page, I realize I’m emotionally drained on the subject, at least for now.  I’m thinking about Gayla, hoping that she lands on her feet, and finds new pursuits that are satisfying in every way they need to be.

Good luck, Gayla.  Don’t be a stranger.



Hurrican Irene from space. This image is from WRAL and should update over time. Eventually I suspect it will be something else altogether that won't make any sense at all here. And I'll forget to delete it.

As Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the North Carolina coast, I and my neighbors are all hearing and heeding the government warnings to seek safety, and make sure you are prepared.  In all seriousness, if you don’t know what to do, see this useful publication for some guidelines.

But let’s assume that you have diligently prepared per all the government recommendations.  You have flashlights and batteries, radios and bath tubs full of water.  You have your sleeping space staked out away from the windows.  You are ready to ride out the storm.  But really, you’re not.  Because you know what the government guidelines always omit?

How in the hell are you going to make coffee after the storm??

Have no fear, Jim is here, with a handy checklist to ensure that your are the most popular person in your neighborhood: the one with the fresh java to energize the neighbors with the chainsaws.  Here’s what you need to do to make sure your caffeine needs are satisfied in glorious calm after the storm:

1. Before the storm, UNPLUG ALL YOUR FANCY COFFEE GEAR.  Wouldn’t it suck if your $5000 espresso machine got popped by a voltage surge right before the power goes out?  You want it to work when the power eventually comes back on.

2.  Make sure you have plenty of coffee beans on hand before the storm.  Who knows how long the power will be out?  After Fran, it was like 7-10 days.  After Floyd, it was 3-5 days.  Without power, your local roaster won’t be roasting, and even your supermarket won’t be able to sell you anything.  So run out to your local roaster NOW and get a couple pounds of beans.  Why a couple pounds, instead of just what you would normally use?  Because you are the only one preparing to make coffee after the storm!  Your neighbors are going to be in your grill as soon as they see you strolling the ‘hood, surveying the wreckage with a steaming mug in your hand.  They’re gonna want some of your brew.  You don’t want to be known as the a__hole who had the coffee and didn’t share; you want to be remembered as the generous one who thought ahead.   You’re gonna accumulate a lot of IOUs this weekend; you may never have to own a hedge trimmer again in your life.  Hell, they may send over their teenagers to trim the hedges for you.

3.  Can you *grind* your coffee without electric?  A nice hand mill is a wonderful, inexpensive addition to your coffee gear.  Even if you don’t use it often at home, you can take it to the office, or on vacation, or when you travel on business.  We sell some nice ones from Hario.  But if you’re not inclined to drop thirty or fifty bucks on a hand mill, there is a solution: grind your coffee in advance.  Yeah, I know, that’s suboptimal.  So is cooking a freezer full of meat on your grill in one day.  Desperate time call for desperate measures.  Make sure you grind enough – at least a pound, maybe two (remember all those neighbors).  And if all else fails, you can make a passable coffee by crushing it with a mortar and pestal.  No kidding – a lot of the world does it that way every day.

4.  How will you heat water?  If you have a gas stove, you’re probably home free.  Even without power, you can light it with a match (make sure you have some matches!).  If you don’t have a gas stove, all is not lost.  Most of us have a backyard grill, gas or charcoal.  Even if yours lacks as fancy sideburner, YOU CAN SET A POT OR KETTLE RIGHT ON THE GRILL.  That’;s right, cookware on the grill.  Just make sure the are no plastic parts that will melt.  A cast iron skillet or dutch oven does nicely in a pinch.  You can also use a camp stove of some sort.  If you don’t have one, they are inexpensive.

5.  What about brewing?  Basically, most of us will have three choices: cowboy coffee, French press, or pourover cone.  Cowboy coffee is the simplest but probably least desirable – simply stir grinds into hot water, steep, strain and serve.  French press is nice, and we have a large selection for you.  A pour-over cone also works well.  If you have the right kind of drip coffee maker (like a Technivorm), you can just manually pour over the basket.

6.  If all this seems like entirely too much trouble, make up some cold brew in advance and heat it like you would the water.

There you have it!  You are now ready for the storm.  Be safe.


An image from the Simle Kneads Facebook page.

Once in a while, a local news story catches your attention and resonates with you. Today was one of those days for me.

The story of Simple Kneads, a small Greensboro, NC bakery surfaced via Twitter, specifically this Tweet alerted me to the story, and I found myself drawn to the rapidly emerging story via social media much in the same way one realizes they are in the process of witnessing an auto accident seconds before the actual collision.  I should say that I didn’t previously know of Simple Kneads, I know nothing about them personally, but I can totally relate to their plight.  I am sympathetic.

The gist of the story is that after a decade in business, Simple Kneads recently (like within days) alerted their customers that “without a miracle” they would be forced to close their doors forever.  The owner made mention of rent, and payroll, and the fact that he (or she) hadn’t been paid personally in a year.

The result was as predictable as the sun rising in the East: the collective masses (on social media) expressed shock and dismay, and rallied in an attempt to snatch Simple Kneads from the jaws of death.  Also predictably, their last-minute attempts have apparently failed, according to the Triad Biz Journal. (Please don’t interpret my remarks to mean that I think the social media supporters were insincere – I don’t believe that for a minute.)  Even though I didn’t know Simple Kneads, I mourn their passing.  Because sadly they are harbinger for many small businesses around the nation.

So what went wrong?  By all accounts they are nice people who made a great product. Why is it they failed?

My guess, and it’s really just that (but based on our own experience), is that they died a Death of a Thousand Little Antipathies.  Actually, antipathy is probably too strong a word, as it implies strong aversions.  More like a Death of a Thousand Little Apathies.

Customers are a funny thing.  In no way do I “blame” them for the demise of any business – that is squarely on the shoulders of the business itself.  But there is a category of customers who could help prevent these business failures if they chose to.  Yet they always seem to be the ones to express shock and dismay instead of realizing that they had the power to keep the options they liked in their community.

One percent of customers are die hard supporters.  They love you, they love all you do, and they go above and beyond, out of their way, to patronize your business and to be your personal friends.  Every business loves and appreciates these customers, and in fact could not exist without them, because they provide something more important than money.  They provide emotional support to keep going through tough times.

About half of customers are transitory, and make no apologies for it.  They come and go on their own terms.  They are in it for them.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Everyone knows the score.  The business tries to please them as reasonably as possible, but there is no sense in going to extremes with these customers.  Once the current transaction is done, you won’t see them again for months, or years, or ever.  No emotional energy is expended by either party.  And that’s fine.  And when the business goes away, these customers don’t shed a tear.  They just find an alternative for their occasional need.

It’s the remainder of the customers who have the opportunity.  These are the customers who express their like for the business, who talk a good game, but in the crucial moments, they behave in ways contrary to the principle they espouse.  They say they want independent businesses, but they buy big brands because they are on sale.  Or convenient.  Or whatever.  It’s not that they intend to tip the scales one way or the other.  They just honestly think that their individual behavior makes no difference in the scheme of things.  Yeah, they want to buy bread from Simple Kneads, but they’re in the Harris Teeter, so they think “what the hell, I’ll just pick up bread here. I’ll get it from Simple Kneads next time.”

Except that after tomorrow, there won’t be a next time for Simple Kneads.

So think about your own behavior as a consumer.  Are you one of the customers in the two extremes I mentioned?  If so, you needn’t do anything.  You’re either already supporting the outcome you care about, or your really don’t care much (and again, that really is fine).

But are you one of the customers who would be upset if one of your favorite businesses went away?  Are you the type that’s inclined to start or participate in a social media campaign to save that business?

If so, I have good news for you.  You don’t have to wait for the crisis.  You can avert the crisis by simply being consistent in your patronage.  Skip buying the thing that they sell from the big box store, and make it a point to buy from them regularly.  And if you really like the business, why don’t you try bringing a friend each time you patronize them?

Be the change you want to see in the world.