05/31/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Illuminating Thought

I knew Illuminations had closed their East Coast stores a while back. I do most of my shopping online, so I hadn't given that contraction a thought. But seeing that option was gone as well got me taking a second look in my mailbox. I noted that other companies were sending me special email offers much the same as the ones I had gotten from Illuminations in the months before they closed, with free shipping and sales offers in them.

When I open those emails, I say that "I do not need anything." And I truly do not.

But now I wonder how much I would miss those stores in the years to come if they were not there when I wanted something from them, like Illuminations. And I started musing about buying another set of sheets...or pillowcases...or the set of shelves I was thinking about, the ones that make me say out loud, "Those would be perfect on that wall."

Sure, like everyone else, I am thinking about every dollar I spend, but these days there is something tugging at me about how much I would miss these stores if they were not around when I wanted something from them.

And as a bibliophile I also thought about the bookstores that I love. How would I feel if they were not around?

And that led me to this thought. What if I looked at the places I really love to shop at and figured out a way to buy something from them in the next 30 days?

I would not plunk down money wildly, but I want to take a serious look at the special places where I like the selection, personal service or the ambiance. And support them.

May I ask you to take a moment and do the same thing, especially with places like indie stores and small size companies that you love? Friday, May 1st has been identified as a Shop Indie Bookstore Day, and readers are encouraged to buy books from independent store owners. I'd love to see you support this effort. Click on to find the indie bookstore nearest you.

It's not about crass materialism. It's about supporting the places -- and the people who run them -- that you love. So they always will be there for you.