By Diane Forrest
I was reading an article the other day about this family that owned a hardware store. They were in danger of having to close what with the Big Chain stores, Home Depot and Lowes. So one day a friend decided he would post a message on his Facebook page asking his friends to support the local hardware store and stop by and spend 20 dollars. Well what happened next was amazing. Not only did his friends show up, but they posted the message on their page, and so on and so on. There were hundreds of people at the hardware store, many sharing experiences they had from the store whether it be a special purchase, or bb guns when they were kids or getting their height measured on the measuring wall. The support of that community saved the store, and made plenty of new memories to boot.
Mom and Pop stores are the backbone of our country. There are many different types of family owned business, from florists, to beauty salons, to hardware stores, produce stands, clothing shops and gift shops. There are also many family owned restaurants and entertainment places. I have a friend who owns a bowling center. He manages while his sons work alongside him. It isn't very easy to be your own boss. There are many benefits, such as setting your own hours, giving yourself a raise, working with your family, but there are some down sides too. My friend works long hours every day and recently missed a family function because one of his employees failed to come to work, he was nearly involved in a lawsuit because someone fell and was injured, he was called in the middle of the night because some kids vandalized his bathroom and flooded a large part of the center before it was noticed, and if something breaks down, he has to fix it.
It is times like those that he has to step up and take care of things. There is no big corporation to call, no hotline to dial to fix the daily problems that occur, but there is also the personal touch. When you call his business you will get a human voice, not a recording. When you walk into his business you will be greeted by someone who will know you by name if you have been there more than once. He must be doing something right, because he just celebrated 41 years of being in business.
Today is Mom and Pop Business Owners Day. According to the creator of this holiday, Rick Segel, of Poinciana, Florida, " This holiday was created to honor the business that my parents started on 3/29/39 in Everett , MA - a hat shop called Ruth’s. It later developed into a woman’s specialty clothing store and moved to Medford, MA, increasing in size to 10,000 square feet with over $2 million dollars revenue until it closed in 1997."
So today, and every day, support your locally owned and operated small businesses, they may cost a little more than the big chain outlets, but you will be helping your community, and your neighbors and making lifetime memories for yourself.