I'm not much on resolutions-- this year I'm going to ride my bike more and get back to working out on the heavy bag everyday-- but the biggest change I want to make is make my shopping and dining choices local.
This is not that big of a deal, because I do that most of the time-- not a big fan of chains but I do find myself in Wal*Mart once in a while -- and without fail I ask myself "WHY!!???" sometime during the visit.
Over the holidays watching commercials I'm struck by the Wal*Mart commercials that show a very competent man talking to shoppers who don't look like Carny's recently escaped from a visiting sideshow--- and that ain't the Wal*Mart I've experienced.
So without further adieu I offer you CHOICES folks-- to keep it local.
CC LOWELL Park Ave Worcester-- art supplies and funky stuff-- they have a great staff and a wide range of products.
Right down the block is THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT which is 10,000 square feet of pop culture madness-- far from just a comic book store if you didn't know you wanted it they have it.
Keep on trucking down Park Ave and take a right onto Highland Street and you'll find yourself at THE FUTON COMPANY which offers you a wide range of not only Futons but decorative and household items that are outside the norm. A good amount of original art available too.
WHITCO in Spencer is a great place to get electronics and toys-- and because the owner is the one you talk to you're getting a great price.
SCLAMO'S on Southbridge Street is also tops on my list for furniture and TVs and you don't have to drive all the way out to Framingham.
FUNKY STUFF at 97c Webster Street which is in the Columbus Park area off Park Avenue is the place to find the wild and the wacky. They work with many local artists to offer a wide range of amazing stuff.
GORETTI'S in Millbury is a great supermarket-- forget Price Chopper with its inept cashiers and zero help(ful) help walking around, GORETTI'S is like going back in time to when a Grocer had employees on the floor who were there to help you. No frequent shopper card required, which is another big plus.
ED HYDER'S MARKET on Pleasant Street is an amazing place with foods from all over the world and a terrific selection of wines to boot. A must go to place.
SHIRAZ on Park Ave is directly across the street from CC LOWELL and offers a wide range of Armenian food -- best Bulgur anywhere-- and they have pretty amazing Hamburgers too!
LUCKY'S located deep in the basement on Grove Street under the Northworks is my favorite restaurant in the city. They are only open for Breakfast and Lunch M-F and Sundays-- but they offer dinner Friday and Saturday nights-- any meal is amazing there and the atmosphere, with its exposed brick and soft lighting-- is really something special.
TORILLA SAM'S on Highland Street is a great place for casual food-- Tex Mex is the order of the day and there is never a wait.
PLAYA de CARMEN in Holden is my favorite Mexican Restaurant-- reminds me of some of the great places I ate at in Houston and Austin while I was in Texas.
MJ READY INTERNATIONAL BISTRO Brookline MA offers the best Thai Food I've ever had-- and they have a huge menu too! It's in the Coolidge Corner neighborhood and while you're there head on over to:
BROOKLINE BOOKSMITH and pick up your book needs.
If you want to stay local, Try ANNIE'S BOOKSWAP on James Street in the Woo-- I've only been there once but if Bret M. Herholz recommends it then its good by me.
Try it this year-- try local and keep a small business in business, teach Wal*Mart and Price Chopper that low prices doesn't equate to no service or dirty stores.