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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Have You Seen "Ma and Pa" Lately

Finally some answers are coming through. Thank you to every one who has responded.

My astute and wonderful tour guides had no idea that there was a small business development center in Greeley. It is nice and refreshing to see some focus on the small business arena. Although I would take odds with the overall strategy being generalized here. New businesses have a low percentage of success rate. Placing an emphasis on giving the new entrepreneurs help at the expense of saving those going under could be a less efficient use of time and money. Targeting specific industries for help might be a better strategy. The economy is struggling to make a change over between industries. Helping businesses build better marketing campaigns, build public awareness, and extending low interest loans to the "Ma and Pa" businesses whose business sectors are likely to see growth once the economy has emerged from the pit of bleakness.

Certainly an open conversation with the public and the need to support local small businesses is imperative and a service the Chamber could offer with little direct cost other than public relations. However trying to convince people that shopping at those discount chains is not in their long term interest is like asking them to learn advanced math. They won't be pleased. The dollar saved today will suck two dollars out of your wallet in the future as jobs continue to be outsourced and small "Ma and Pa" shops are pushed to become bigger and bigger to survive. Got to cut those costs somewhere. Potentially, as we have seen over the last two decades, less than living wage job creation, and outsourcing entire industries to countries with competitive advantages in labor.

The counter of course is retraining and reeducation of our labor forces to focus on the emerging service jobs in health care, greener energy and production, and anywhere technology is creating new methodologies and efficiency. But of course this takes good strategic government planning to realign these workers and that should have started happening, oh around, let's say the year 2000. I digress.

In the meantime the good citizens of Greeley could do the "Ma and Pa" shops a whole lot of good by spending their dollars in locally owned small business whenever they can. I understand what it is to be the single Mom and have only a few dollars to stretch until the next payday. I understand why people are inclined to go to Walmart and Sam's Club. But I also understand it is not entirely in my self-interest belonging to the underclasses to do so.

It is all about more than just today. There is tomorrow to consider.

Below is the article I've clipped from the Greeley Tribune. I am also thinking about posting a piece I have been working on about the local economic development corporation. Maybe I'll work on it and get it up later this week. Ciao.

Recession slams ma and pa shops | Greeley Tribune
MacQuiddy and others in the Greeley business community also note that while some are closing, others are opening. MacQuiddy said the chamber is going to focus on the new ones coming in to help ensure their survival.

“It's so unfortunate seeing some of these businesses that are closing, but I think they realized if you're undercapitalized going in, it's just very difficult to succeed. You have to have a good business plan, and you have to do some forecasting.”

The Greeley chamber has partnered with the city of Greeley and the Small Business Development Center in Greeley.

“We're getting out and talking with businesses one on one, saying, ‘What do you need? How can we help?' We're being very proactive. It's so important we thank businesses for doing business in Greeley and say, ‘What do you see on the horizon? What can we help you with?' ”

Comments :

4 comments to “Have You Seen "Ma and Pa" Lately”

Pete said...

What I see as important in the economy today is the need for reestablishing a particular type of economic activity. Currently, with our manufacturing in decline and its employment shipped overseas, we no longer add value to a raw resource and turn around and sell it for gain--at least not on the massive scale that is required for global economic competition. We move money around. And that is not the same kind of economic activity nor is it enough. When we change a raw resource into something for use, we add a strength to the economy that just purchasing imported goods and making loans cannot do. Manufacturing gives our dollar integrity and resilience. Because we have so much debt to foreign countries, they now pressure our government to discourage us from doing this, much in the way England used colonial America to ship resources to it which in turn would be formed into products there and sold in global markets. America did not make anything. It languished in poor economies. Thus we are caught, once again, in the cycle of import independence at the same time when we are very capable of leading the world in the production of manufactured products.

Jane Paudaux said...

Hi Pete. Thanks for joining the debate. I thought I left a comment earlier but apparently I am still a bit clueless about the comment process. So I'll try again.

My first thoughts, before we can dig into your proposal, is to ask for a clarification on what your definition of manufacturing extends too. I generally use the term "Value Added", I think, to describe what you are talking about. But that might negate your point about imports. For example, airplane engines are frequently manufactured in other nations from raw material, say Germany for example, then those engines are imported and placed in planes in the United States (Boeing is a good example if I remember correctly). I also am wondering if you are indicating that focusing on local economies is misdirected--could you clarify please. In my viewpoint by focusing on building sustainable economic and environmental systems in your own local community (different areas define the geographic economic localities in various ways--but I'll use the word local in a generic sense) and combining that with other regions doing the same--you produce a productive and healthy whole that benefits the entire nation. In essence it is much easier and more efficient in our increasingly complex world to manage a smaller unit effectively with democratic principles than it is to understand and manage a megamodernalatropolis with many complex variables. To me starting small and effective and putting the pieces together is a prudent way to get the final outcome many indicate is there goal.

Jane Paudaux said...

Their. Their. The misspelling of this word has been the bane of my career. Sorry folks!

Jane Paudaux said...

Well that and not taking the time to edit!

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