“All politics is local.” Tip O’Neill
“You don’t sh** where you eat, and you definitely don’t sh** where I eat.” Tony Soprano
Welcome to the relaunch issue of the Florida Agenda. We hope you like and find value in the improvements we have made to both this journal and its sister publication, Guy Magazine. Thank you for your past and ongoing support, patronage, and honest criticisms, all of which have helped make this publication a community newspaper through and through.
Walking through the Gayborhood, you will notice the presence of small signs (perhaps too small) posted in retail and other windows enjoining you to spend your money locally this holiday season. It’s a worthy message, and one that Multimedia Platforms (the publisher of the Agenda and Guy) encourages you to put into practice as we close the remaining days of 2012—Mayan apocalypse predictions notwithstanding—prior to the end of Hanukkah (which runs through December 16), Kwanzaa (December 26 to January 1), and Christmas (you know this one).
In this modern age of convenience, there are plenty of options available to a savvy shopper, and as the economy remains tepid, it is natural and smart to be discriminating with your hard-earned dollars.
Last week, my partner and I attended the Wilton Manors Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. As the musical ensemble on stage played their hearts out, our friend, Krishan Manners came up to us and said—perennially-impish grin in place, and without a hint of irony, “Welcome to small-town living.” And wouldn’t you know we were standing on the city’s main street, Wilton Drive.
That ideal—and idyll—of a community built upon a foundation that includes gay gentrification is precisely the “promise” of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s gay ghetto (or ‘village,’ if your sensibilities prefer) to so many people around the country and the world who dream of living, working, and playing in a spot just like this.
We do our parts by ensuring that this Gayborhood—a goose responsible for laying so many golden eggs—is properly nourished, fed, watered and cared for; in short, sustained through the economic power that makes LGBT consumers the envy of every demographic and the target of every brand and commodity.
A recent survey for Shop.org found that shoppers on Cyber Monday spent an average $194.46 online, which was more than the average person spent online over the (Thanksgiving) weekend just preceding it ($172.42).
Don’t misunderstand me: in my house, we love us some eBay (and Amazon), but imagine the economic—and quality of life—impact to our community if that $366.88 four-day spending average had been spent in the Shoppes of Wilton Manors, or at Strawberry Plaza (home of Matty’s on the Drive and other establishments), or in To The Moon Marketplace, Out of the Closet, The Outlet, Island City Eyecare, LeatherWerks, 4 Men Clothing, Tropics, Tropixxx, or any of dozens of other local merchants who create jobs and a tax base for our community, our city, and our county. It builds the foundation for more gay—and yes, even some not-so-gay—men and women to build their lives here in this place we call paradise and home.
In the 13 shopping days remaining until Christmas (and the eight left until my birthday), take a moment and consider how much of your remaining shopping—and spending—can be done with merchants and venues where that money is best likely to make a positive impact in your own back yard (and preferably those where, even if the owners or management aren’t precisely a “mom” or a “pop,” you can be pretty sure that they at least have one).
Taking your money out of the local economy sends a message that you don’t support local businesses and local jobs.
By spending here, with the people in your Gayborhood, you likewise display front and center your willingness to serve as a steward for the greater community, since shopping local means saving gas and wear and tear to your car—and the environment (putting the “green” back into the season, in a meaningful way).
In this case, size doesn’t matter: large purchases, small purchases, gift cards—the world’s best shopping district outside of Naples, Italy is to be found right here on our doorsteps.
During the holidays and at every time of the year, home is what we make of it.