I live in one neighborhood and work in another. Every morning when I head to work I pass two stores, both are owned by immigrant families from South Asia but one is along the main road leading into the Texas Medical Center and the other is located across the street from a school in the middle off a neighborhood made up of elderly Anglos and more recent immigrants, people who fled South East Asia, people who have come here to work cleaning offices or as day laborers.
I’m in and out of both stores at least twice a week. I don’t really know the families that run them, beyond knowing each other by sight. Technically, despite living in what is a fairly well-off neighborhood I live on the edge of a food desert and work on the edge of a second.. And I currently don’t have a car. So, when I do large scale grocery shopping I go there via bus or light rail, and haul it all home on my back in a decade old backpack. This is what has me in and out of neighborhood stores, either because I forget something, or run low on something faster than I had expected, or simply need something I didn’t know I needed.
The question is, which store is better for me to shop at? The one that is within sight of my apartment, or the one in sight of my employer? The vast majority of people in my neighborhood are able to run out to HEB or Whole Foods or any number of other shops. The simplest for me to reach via public transit is a Fiesta about three miles away. In my other neighborhood the neighborhood store is the life blood of many families. It serves senior citizens, it serves the people who live in the neighboring apartment complexes and it serves the students at the nearby schools. In fact it has one of the best selections of school supplies I see on a year round basis outside of an office supply store.
So where should I shop more, the store that serves me well, or the store that serves the people that I serve?