Once upon a time on a strip of land near you, there sat a magical and bustling place. Magical, you ask? Yes, there was ice cream and cupcakes here. From ice cream parlors and bakeries to convenient stores and local computer repair stores, there was plenty to drool over. Here we’d find our goods, services, clothes, etc. We’d blow off steam at the bar, people watch our more “whimsical” townsmen, and simply have a good time. We call this dear old friend Main Street. With so many exciting and convenient places to shop or spend some time at, it’s a wonder how we forgot its place in our hearts and memories.

Today, a growing number of Americans take after Quasimodo. They hide in their towers, hunchbacked over their smart devices, dragging their fingers and cursors across the screen, “going” shopping.

Stressed out girl holding phone in the dark

Ugh but will this scarf cover my hunchback?”

Why’d We Turn Our Backs On Main Street?

Main Street’s apparent “decline” began back in 1956 with the creation of the first mall. Newly constructed highways aided the growth of suburban neighborhoods, drawing families and business out of the city. Within the decades that came we saw thousands of malls materialize, the rise of supermarket chains, and the invention of the internet. With new competitors in the game, Main Street’s sparkle appeared to dwindle as Mom and Pop shops struggled to compete. Used to be that we’d turn to Main Street when we needed our goods and services, today we’ve turned our backs to Main Street.

Main Street of Downtown Northampton, PA
Main Street of Downtown Northampton, PA. Businesses photographed include Main Street Restaurant, Assist 2 Sell, and DRC Technologies
Photo courtesy of Luis Pizarro, co-owner of Main Street Restaurant in Northampton, PA

Main Street may no longer have very many local general stores, but that was never all they had to offer. There are still many unique businesses that offer products and services beyond what can be found elsewhere. Can Walmart’s bakery make you custom cookie golf carts, guitars, or your favorite celebrity? No, Koncrete Creamery here in Northampton, PA can.

When you think Main Street, think homemade and novel ice cream flavors, craft beer breweries, specialty restaurants (mmm), and computer repair stores, to name a few. Not to mention, aside from businesses, there are always activities and events to discover on Main Street.

Read on for a list of just a few of the reasons you should skip the highway and take a trip downtown to support your local Main Street businesses.

Happy man and woman smiling and pointing at each other
“Hey Boogie!” “Hey Cali Allyy!
Ever just hit it off with a store clerk and become a loyal customer
due to the experience? The best.
Personable Customer Service

On Main Street, there’s personable customer service. The staff know their products and services inside and out; they can address your questions and concerns. No need to call Amazon’s customer service only to bicker with automated foe bots that put you through digital Olympic trials until you’re ultimately disqualified from the call. You yell obscenities but no one cares or hears you because something about a tree in a forest and you’re all alone in your room.

Small grocery store clerk assisting customer
“Yes, love, this will make you feel as good as new after a week of spiked eggnog.”
Verify Quality

When you shop on Main Street, you know what you’re getting into. You can fully observe, touch, and heck even smell the product you’re about to purchase, verifying its quality. Try buying a quality wig online and you might walk out of the house looking like Einstein’s reincarnation, minus the self-awareness.

Helps Your Community

Supporting Main Street helps stimulate your community’s economy. Local businesses pay local taxes which means more revenue goes back into the community. This amounts to less cussing over potholes, better books “just for Mommy” at the library, more school activities to keep those Rugrats busy, etc. Essentially, improvements to your city’s roads, schools, libraries, events, our lives, and other necessities.

They also create local jobs and invite tourism, only adding to the community’s economy and energy. Local businesses often donate to or even sponsor events and organizations. We here at DRC Technologies donate to local organizations, surrounding charities, fundraisers, and even offer e-waste recycling as a service to our community.

The front of a coffee shop with a woman sitting in the window

Chain stores are just that – one chain link looks identical to the last. How fun. Shopping at chain stores support the investors and bigwigs who are already rich. Wouldn’t you like to support sweet little Mary and her family down the street instead?

When Main Street thrives, it encourages entrepreneurs to start their own businesses there, adding to the diversity of the businesses in your city. They might see Main Street booming and think, “Well there’s not a local frozen yogurt shop here. Maybe I should open one?” No, you must. I’ve got my Lactaid pills locked and loaded, please and thank you very much.

Store clerk handing customer shopping bag
“I threw in an extra charm for your bracelet, on the house.”
“On the house, thank you! I love it here, when can I move in?”
Loneliness/Beneficial Social Interaction

Multiple studies have shown that even small social interactions with strangers can make us happier, sometimes even ‘making our day.’ Meanwhile, other studies have shown that social anxiety is steadily on the rise due to growing social withdrawal. Sounds dramatic but the truth is, humans are hardwired to be part of a group. When we take to the airways for our shopping needs, it is an isolated experience. On Main Street you walk into a five and dime and are greeted by a welcoming smile and an offer of service. Don’t be shy, guy. Go to your local main street and you just might make a new friend, learn something new, and practice your social skills.

It Is Personal/We Care

Recently we serviced a client who had gone to one of our major chain competitors for computer repair services. They needed a simple virus cleanup but were dumbfounded when they were returned their computer. Their personal data; documents, photos, videos, memories, etc., had all been erased. If they had treasured puppy photos on there – gone! That alone could bring me to tears. Rest assured, we’ve since made them a happy and loyal customer and I got my hands on some tissues.

At major chains, your questions, concerns, or opinions don’t reflect on the business’ reputation nor success. In major corporations where every employee is considered replaceable, you’ll often find indifferent and unwilling members of customer service. Corporations see their employees as numbers, therefore the employees don’t feel valued nor rewarded for their efforts; so they don’t make any. This is how we get entitled Mackenzie at checkout, scowling at our request to bag our eggs separately. This is not exemplary of the customer experience here at DRC Technologies. For one, we don’t sell any eggs, and secondly, when a client brings their computer into our shop, we treat them and their device with the utmost care and attention to detail. They leave here with all of their precious puppy photos intact and the guarantee that their device was serviced at the best of our knowledge and abilities.

Northampton PA's annual Main Street fair
Northampton, PA’s annual street fair on Main Street
Photo courtesy of Luis Pizarro, co-owner of Main Street Restaurant in Northampton, PA

Main Street is the epicenter of your city; of course there are events and activities to take part in! From the annual Christmas Tree Lighting to local bars hosting Super Bowl watch parties, there’s plenty to do and see on Main Street. Think strawberry fests, garlic fests, holiday festivities, fundraisers, etc. So don’t forget to check your local borough’s website for their upcoming events calendar. If you’re local to or would like to visit Northampton, PA, be sure to visit our borough’s website to see their upcoming events.

Man and woman walking on sidewalk

I’ll See You Downtown

Only decades ago across American cities, our main streets were where we would catch up with our friends over a cup of coffee. We’d run down to the corner store for that last bit of sugar we needed to finish that birthday cake. Then run right back when we forgot the eggs. Today, “over three-quarters of the country’s consumers have shopped for items on the web.” We’ve taken to the digital world to bring items into our physical. Sounds pretty crazy when you think about it.

Overlooking Downtown Northampton, PA behind Coplay-Northampton Bridge
Overlooking Downtown Northampton, PA sitting behind the Coplay-Northampton Bridge

While it may sound convenient and comfortable, in the end we’re only hurting ourselves, our community, and our backs. When we go to big chain stores or online to do our shopping, we’re overlooking the local businesses that make a concerted effort to give us the best products and services they can offer.

DRC Technologies Storefront
DRC Technologies, computer repair/IT services on Main Street, Northampton, PA

At DRC Technologies, customer service, care, satisfaction, accuracy, privacy; ultimately, our customers, are at the forefront of our priorities. Their satisfaction and peace of mind is a direct reflection of our business. If you’re happy, we’re happy. These are the sort of principles you can expect of businesses on Main Street. It’s the difference between Walmart’s dry, standard, and mathematical bakery, versus the craftsmanship and care of a local Main Street bakery whose creativity and passion for their art can be enjoyed in their creations. So take a trip to Main Street; stretch your back out, get to know your city, neighbors, and your local ice cream parlor’s menu a little too well. Enjoy!

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