Press-Republican

Read

November 18, 2012

Small Business Saturday has impact

Next weekend we will celebrate Small Business Saturday across our nation.

If every day was Small Business Saturday, our region would be much stronger. Instead, when too-big-to-fail sneezes, small businesses catch pneumonia.

When George Bush bailed out big banks and insurance companies, and state governments indemnified civil servants, there seemed to be nobody looking out for small businesses. This oversight is ironic, given how many new jobs small businesses generate and how vulnerable they are to macroeconomic mismanagement of the follies of those too-big-to-fail and leaders more concerned about politics than prosperity.

I say “they,” but I confess for me it is a “we,” as my wife and I toil to develop a local wine industry. Like most small businesspeople, we do so not by seeking gifts from government but by the passion of entrepreneurship and the sweat of our brow.

Every small businessperson ponders the larger economy, and must be wise to succeed. The Walmarts and the bulk outlets will always have an advantage in cost. For commodities like cheap cheese and inexpensive wine and beer, mass-produced shoes and clothes made in China, the bulk outlets serve a role in our economy.

I don’t begrudge them. If people can save money on those things for which quality of product or service matters little, our household budget goes farther, which allows us savings to afford the occasional higher quality product that we might not otherwise consider.

Walmart and outlet stores have commodified much of what we buy. We have no expectation of good service or product knowledge. And, the large profits large stores generate that often leave our county are a price we can ill-afford.

Buying local means buying a level of service that large outlets have all but forgotten. It also returns a hidden dividend. When you buy local, you may pay a very small bit more for local knowledge, for a proprietor that cares about you and insists you are always right, and for someone interested in filling your product needs that might otherwise go unmet.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Read
  • colin_read.jpg Good organizations lack drama

    Groups that accomplish their objectives do so with a minimum of distraction and politics, focusing instead on creativity and a dynamic vision, according to columnist Colin Read.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Parking fines a short-sighted policy

    Tourists should be encouraged to do business downtown without fear of getting tickets, according to columnist Colin Read.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Technical training a key part of education

    Recently honored, Champlain Valley Educational Services offers meaningful careers for those not heading for college, according to columnist Colin Read.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Constitution withstands test of time

    The nation's founding document is a delicate balance that we should continue to nurture, according to columnist Colin Read.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg This region helped shape a new nation

    As we celebrate our nation's history, we must also appreciate the key role the North Country played in the founding of two countries, according to columnist Colin Read.

    June 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Diversity of views a key to progress

    With today's mobile society and 24-hour media, like-minded people tend to congregate together stifling diversity of opinion, according to columnist Colin Read.

    June 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Local heros needed to inspire us all

    It takes individual talent and initiative to truly move a community forward to fulfill its economic destiny, according to columnist Colin Read.

    June 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Fee on carbon needed

    Creating incentives to curb emissions is critical to containing climate change, according to columnist Colin Read.

    May 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Governor inspires renewed shared-services effort

    Tax-cap plan has provided incentives for municipalities to get together to try and increase savings and efficiency, according to columnist Colin Read.

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Pipeline issue has no simple answer

    If Alberta oil is not transported through Keystone, it will cause more pollution to send it to China, according to columnist Colin Read.

    May 11, 2014 1 Photo