• Gabriel Donio

Hammonton living provides a lot of advantages


The cartoon on page six that opens the year for the Opinion pages sends a strong message about living locally. (Courtesy Photo)

The cartoon on page six that opens the year for the Opinion pages sends a strong message about living locally.


Namely, that living in Hammonton provides a lot of advantages.


The cartoon’s message—“Read Local,” “Shop Local” and “Eat Local” should resonate with every Hammontonian. Supporting locally-owned and operated or locally-located businesses is more than just a civic duty. It’s about helping the people who pay taxes or rent (which helps taxes get paid) here, employ local and area people and support causes and organizations from sports teams to civic clubs to church groups and more.


In other words, supporting local businesses is a two-way street, because your money is poured back into the town by the local businesses you support.


Let’s take a closer look at the three areas mentioned in the cartoon.


Read Local: You are doing it right now. By reading The Gazette, you’re supporting a locally-owned-and-operated media outlet that includes the newspaper in your hands, a Digital Edition, the website www.hammontongazette.com, Gazette Print Shop and more to come.


Newspapers like The Gazette help reflect and promote the local character of the community. In Hammonton, we never run out of character (or characters) to cover. It’s been true since the first day the paper came out on July 2, 1997, and it’s still true nearly 25 years later. In that time, we’ve grown and changed, and thanks to our readers and our advertisers (most of whom are local or based locally), the paper has added pages and sections, while diversifying into digital and marketing realms we never thought possible in 1997.


Our greatest thrill remains when we hear from our readers about a story, column, photo, cartoon or post that made an impact on them when it ran in the paper or online.


When a newspaper like The Gazette connects with a readership like Hammonton has it’s like a band at a live concert connecting with its fans. Nothing beats the feeling, so thanks for rocking along with us all these years.


Your support is always appreciated. Reading books by local authors is another way to “Read Local.” Keep an eye out for future articles about local authors’ new books when we write about them in the paper.


Shop Local: You know how, when you stop in a locally-owned-and-operated store, you have that warm feeling? It’s a sense of closeness, of belonging that makes it more than just a stop to buy something.


Local store owners know you. In many cases, the relationship between customers and storeowners has existed for decades. They don’t just know what you purchase. These storeowners know your families, your ups and downs, why you’re buying something during a particular time of year and so much more.


And like I already told you, when they’re not busy running their businesses, they’re giving back to the community with their time, money and know-how in a million diverse ways.


Hammonton is enriched by its stores, and the local people who run them. In most cases, they are our family, friends and neighbors. A lot of small towns are called “tight-knit.” Thanks to these store owners and the people who patronize them every day, Hammonton isn’t just something that’s tight-knit—it’s woven together like a tapestry, everything blending beautifully.


Eat Local: The same could be said of our local restaurants—places where people go repeatedly for the warmth and conviviality of a nice establishment run by good people.


The owners and staffs of Hammonton’s local restaurants serve delicious food—and are consistently working on innovating and creating new dishes to tantalize their patrons. Beyond the food, there is a level of hospitality that goes further than the usual restaurant does. It’s as if you were invited into their homes, and they are in the kitchen, and you’re not sitting at a table in a restaurant, but at their kitchen table.


They are cooking for you. It’s personal attention in a world where people are used to being treated like a number. In Hammonton, the local restaurants treat you like a person. It’s an amazingly warm feeling.


And you’ll never go home hungry.


One last point: In addition to donating time, money and know-how, members of the restaurant community also often donate food. One more reason to give them our support.


See? I told you local living provides a lot of advantages.


Remember to Read Local, Shop Local and Eat Local in 2022—and every year.



Gabriel J. Donio is the publisher of The Hammonton Gazette.