"Shop local" has become a bit of a worn phrase.
But what if you look at it in terms of what each person contributes to their local economy, whether it’s sandwiches, stories or accounting skills, and begin connecting the dots between them?
That’s what co-owner John Crowley has been preaching for years from his java-steeped pulpit on Second Street. Now he’s taking his desire to build “social capital” by organizing Petaluma Palooza, a community expo that will bring local companies, organizations and residents together to meet, greet and form new connections.
The event is being organized by Aqus Community, which Crowley describes as a membership-driven hive of social capital he and several friends formed last year. It now has 100 participating businesses and close to 1,000 members.
"When you have a strong connection between people, there is an increase in trust, creative engagement and commerce in the community,” says Crowley. “Studies have shown that where there are strong communities, people are healthier, happier and their sense of well-being is stronger.”
At the free expo, attendees will be able to scope out local companies and nonprofits, listen to mini lectures on everything from micro finance to nutrition to how to research historic buildings. There will also be arts and crafts for all ages, and music. The expo is scheduled for Saturday, September 15 and will be held at the on Lakeville and D streets.
The goal is to give smaller businesses who can’t afford to participate in the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo (where booths run up to $375) a chance to promote themselves.
“We want people to discover the hidden treasures of Petaluma and say ‘Wow, I had no idea this was here,'” says Crowley.
Petaluma Palooza: A Community Expo will be held Saturday, September 15 at the Petaluma Arts Center 2-6pm. Admission is free.