Today, as I drove through town on my way to pick up my children from school, I noticed several more small businesses that were closed. I am not sure if this was for the winter months, or for good. I certainly hope it isn't the latter.
The economy has been this unrelenting force for the past couple of years that is quickly driving out small business. It is just too hard to compete against bigger stores that can carry a larger variety of items, for a cheaper price.
Where I live, we have two local grocery stores. One is a larger chain food store and the other is a small, independently owned one. There have been so many times I have wished for a Kroger or a Publix to be close by, especially after I see an ad on television advertising milk for $2 a gallon. I am used to paying around $4. When you are spending an average of $200 per week on groceries for a household of six or seven, you tend to cut corners wherever possible. I clip coupons and watch for sales. I have to. Even with what I consider to be a large amount each week on food items, we never have steak or seafood or any other "high end" item. For us, it is often cubesteak and fish sticks instead and believe me, I am thankful each night that my children are able to go to bed with a full belly because I know there are so many that don't.
Although I have spent a great deal of time in the past wishing for more choices to shop, I am at a point where I am thankful we don't have more. If there were more, that small town grocery store that I frequent, would never be able to keep their doors open, at least not in this economy.
This all brings me to my next point. Some must think I am crazy to be investing what little savings my husband and I have into a new business, especially a newspaper, where we hear of so many failing daily.
To me, this is the golden opportunity for us to start our new business. Yes, newspapers are failing all over the country but so are a lot of other things. Most of those are the bigger papers that employ hundreds of people. They have a large payroll to meet. The paper I worked at up until a couple of weeks ago, had dwindled the staff in our office to only me and one part time helper. I am used to doing it on my own, from ground up. I know I can because I have.
This brings me back to another fact. Just like the grocery store list, I am thankful there isn't more competition where I live. I know that I can bring a paper that the locals desire. So many of the residents where I reside are retired. We don't often get covered by any newstations and the Atlanta paper don't even circulate daily in the mountains anymore. There is a demand for a good local news source. I am going to meet that demand.
My point is, I believe in guidance from God. I believe with all the circumstances surrounding my recent job loss and the will-power I have pulled from within, I can do this; and do it well. I hate change, so this is a big step for me but instead of being scared of the challenges to come, I am excited. I can't wait to get back to the "grindstone", only this time, for myself, my family and my community.
I will continue to support small town business as much as I can because I feel that is the backbone of our great nation. Those willing to step forward and believe in themselves. I don't know when the economy will start to look up but I do believe we can all pull together and help one another out until then. That is another benefit of living in a small town. A place where everyone "knows everyone elses business" but also a place where we know our friends... and can count on them.