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Shopping local has impact

It was a sad day in Ironton Wednesday as Bentley Rxpress Pharmacy, a staple of downtown for nearly two decades, opened its doors for the last time.

The Bentleys decided to merge their family-owned business with the CVS corporation across the street, citing the rapidly changing health care industry and mounting challenges associated with Medicare and other government programs and regulations that affect pharmacists.

In a prepared statement, Dan Bentley said that it had become increasingly difficult to operate as a small, independent pharmacy. Bentley will transfer all his customers’ information to the chain store, something that not everyone will embrace for many of the reasons that brought them to Bentley’s in the first place.

Whether you were a patron of Bentley Pharmacy or not, all Lawrence Countians should be saddened by this loss because it is yet another disappointing commentary on a society that favors big-box stores and national chains.

Further, this is another blow for downtown Ironton at a time in which leaders are trying to rebuild it on the foundation of small businesses.

Nothing is wrong with shopping at the national chains. The reality is there are many things that likely won’t be able to be found elsewhere or simply cost too much somewhere else.

But if each and every citizen made a commitment to spend just 20 percent more locally it could make all the difference and keep family businesses alive.

Thinking local — and shopping that way when possible — is the perfect prescription for keeping our communities strong.