Al Cantrell, owner of Al’s Flowers and Gifts in Montgomery says he changed his business’ marquee on a whim.
“All my employees were out of town when I changed it. They came back on Monday and said, ‘Al! Do you think they’ll get it?”
The marquee, which read “The Internet Did Not Pave Carter Hill Road. Shop Local,” was indeed understood by customers and those who drove past his shop at the corner of Carter Hill Road and Mulberry Street. A few days after he changed the marquee, a passerby took a photo of it and shared it to Facebook. Before long, it had been shared dozens of times and viewed thousands of times.
“It’s created a little bit of a buzz,” said Al. “I’ve heard many people complain about Carter Hill Road needing re-paving, and now they’re out there working on it. I just thought, this is an opportunity to let people know where the money comes from to pave that road.”
In the weeks since Al posted his marquee, he says several local business owners have called him to thank him for spreading the word about the importance of shopping local.
“It’s not just about shopping with a business where your tax dollars go back to the local economy. It’s about supporting the businesses that give back to your community as well. Retailers are the ones in your city that support the United Way, Hospice, Meals on Wheels and the Food Bank, to name a few. They rely on small businesses to generate donation money and to generate interest in the work they are doing, and people need to realize that,” Al added.
“You don’t want to travel and see the same stores everywhere you go. You know, if want to keep unique stores, shops and restaurants around, people need to spend money there. It just makes common sense that you’d want to support your neighborhood and your community. It needs to start at home.”
Al’s Flowers has been an Alabama Retail Association member since 1995. It’s open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.