Come Together

For many small business owners, their neighboring entrepreneurs become like a second family.

I remember the excitement I felt as a child when I reached the age when my mother would let me venture to the local grocery store a block away, Oak Foods, on my bicycle by myself. I had a basket on my bike and I would put the groceries in there and ride back home with the change for mom (sometimes I would use the change to buy something from the gumball machine).

But as I grew a little older, the bigger chain food stores opened down the street and Oak Foods fell by the wayside. Town homes now sit on the spot where the grocery store once stood.

This is an all too common sight today. Every day I drive down the street and see big-box stores that once were aggressively expanding across the country with their cheaply priced, foreign-made items, now sitting empty and abandoned. They were dying to get into these towns, had all of these big plans; and then just picked up and left their buildings to crumble,destroying the aesthetics of the nearby businesses that still remained.

And while stories of big corporations shutting down operations and leaving town are in the news every day, it’s not very often that we hear about small businesses in town closing. It’s even sadder to me when someone’s dream gets shattered and their entire life savings went into their business, and the business failed.

When a big-box store closes a location, they can possibly transfer their employees to another nearby location. When a small business owner closes up shop, each one of their employees is affected by the business closing. They don’t have another location to transfer to.

A big-box store may also be able to offer a substantial severance package. If a small business owner is forced to close, it is very likely that they will not be able to offer any type of financial compensation to their employees.

When a big-box chain closes a location or goes out of business, they can file for bankruptcy protection. However, when a small business owner goes out of business, many times they are forced to deal with the debt accrued by the failing business.

Everyone is feeling the blow of the economy. One advantage I believe small business owners have over their big-box competition is their tight-knit relationships with other fellow business owners. For many small business owners, their neighboring entrepreneurs become like a second family. I believe that in this time of economic woe, all small business owners need to stick together and give moral support and good sound advice to each other. If you don’t know any other local business owners, get out there and meet new people to discuss business ideas, advertising, marketing and how you can make more money.

If everyone bands together, I’m hopeful that small business owners will weather the economic storm better than any of their larger competitors.

All the best,

Lynn Celmer | Managing Editor

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