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One American Dream
9/27/2008 - Dorothy Sander

I watched a news clip this morning about the difficulties in India. Flooding has caused severe distress to many of the people. A man who lost his only son in the flood is struggling day to day to have enough food to eat. Another clip revealed the devastation in Galveston. Small business owners have had to close their doors with no sure hope of reopening. One was asked "How long can you survive with your business closed?" He is living on savings..."not very long" was his response. Another is anxious about whether or not the bank will allow her to delay payment of her credit line while she tries to get her shop back up and running after 8 feet of water devastated her inventory.

Small business owners in this country are quickly and abruptly affected by every little twist and turn of fate. What once was the back bone of this great nation is now almost an impossibility. We revere the small guy who grew up to be the big guy and yet what of the real value of the small business that was once enough for many? The small business owner is proud of his/her accomplishments and successful in his/her own right -- able to support their own family and maybe several others.

We are willing to bail out the giants because they have become so powerful and their adversity affects so many. The little guy falls by the way side and fate forces them into bankruptcy, failure and desperation. The giants will just close their financial books and move onto something else with plenty of money in their bank accounts to start over. I keep wondering, shouldn't we do more for the small business owner in this country? Shouldn't we support and encourage and look after them just as much? Why do we consider them so inconsequential to the proper functioning of this economy?

I miss the Mom and Pop stores. I miss being greeted by the friendly, proud owners of the small businesses. A paid greeter planted a the front door with no vested interest in the business entity is no substitution. Everyone knows he's being paid to be friendly. I'm tired of walking long aisles looking for a needle in a haystack with no one in site to ask for assistance. We live in a nation of chains and the small guy who made it big. I'm not sure this part of the American dream is all it's cracked up to be.

5 Comments From Other Members
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9/27/2008 Lia Hadley from Luebeck SH wrote:
Amen to the mom and pop businesses. For years now, our family has been attempting to find the right balance between organic food and mass produced food, local produce and international imports, mom and pop stores and chain stores... it doesn't necessarily make sense financially, but it does on so many other levels that shouldn't be overlooked by anybody.
9/27/2008 Susan Terbay from Dayton OH wrote:
I really detest the big stores - I don't shop them unless I desparately need something I cannot find in a smaller store. I love my local bakery where I see the bakers in the back baking! I love my local grocery store - they know me and my family and the manager was once a bagger. They know my kids from when they were little. Do I pay more - in some ways - yes on the 'big items' which I don't need in such large quantities - if I do I send my daughter to Sam's to purchase. No, I love my smaller stores in the area in which I get more than what money purchases - I get community.
9/27/2008 CJ Golden from Newtown CT wrote:
Susan, you hit it right with the word "community". It is the sense of community, of belonging, that one finds in the local mom and pop stores. We still have a small, privately owned pharmacy in town and I'd so much rather go there than CVS or any of the other large chains. We have a local grocer and several organic farms. This is the stuff of Americana and I so love being a part of it. I only hope they can all hold out against the big, cold chains.
9/27/2008 Susan Terbay from Dayton OH wrote:
I go to the small pharmacy as well because years ago the pharmacist who runs it now - his dad who was the pharmacist when my kids were little, always made sure I got my prescriptions for the kids when they were sick even when money was tight and I couldn't pay for all of it. He would tell me, 'don't worry, just pay when you get it.' - So I go there because the same attitude prevails - they care about the people they serve.
9/27/2008 Beth Egan from Allison Park PA wrote:
I also strive to support local small businesses. I belong to two local women's business networking groups where we support each other and frequenly refer others. Community Supported Agriculture is the only way to go if you want fresh. And if I can't find something locally the internet is full of small businesses to support.

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