A juicery/cafe just opened a couple blocks from my apartment in Bed-Stuy. I went there recently to do work and upon seeing me take a photo with my phone, one of the owners approached me to introduce himself and to ask that I tag any such media with their hashtag @BKYLNBLEND. I said of course! and that I was actually creating a Yelp entry for the cafe.
When I returned a few days later, I met the co-owneer. I started the conversation with “I don’t think we’ve met…” and before I could finish my sentence he stated, “you sat over at that table and stared our Yelp account.” Wow. How wonderful it felt that I was recognized and remembered. This feeling of significance (opposite of anonymity) is why I seek out small businesses. Right there, it was a small interaction, but now I want to go back more and develop the status of a regular.
While meeting with my advisor Lara, she too shares this satisfaction of connecting with these business owners in her neighborhood. She explained that in a sense, "We both need to like each other” and that it's the minutia of everyday life that is the hardest to adjust to when you move, because you have to rebuild all these small moments.