By Delia Liuzza
We all know times are tough. Regardless of what the media tells us about things getting better, all of us feel the need to hang on to the money we do have in case we get laid off, or need to go to the dentist, or our car breaks down, or the price of gas gets higher again…
Tough, scary times.
For some it has gone beyond tough times. Small-business owners are having to make the heart-wrenching decision of how much more debt to go into before giving up. What can we do to get people to understand the real danger of every last one of us closing our doors? No one wants to beg, but the bottom line is we need help.
Now, before it’s too late.
Most of us have been putting in volunteer hours for years, and we do it because we love and believe in the possibility of our endeavors. We bring special nuances to a small town in Eastern NC. We do it because we love you, and don’t want to let you down. And we do it because it is inside us, and we don’t know how to stop.
Dragonfly Bead Company, over near the old Tie Breakers (yeah, Tiebreakers is gone). The Sojourner on Evans. Crystal Connection near Staples. Copper and Vine on 4th and Evans. Starlight Cafe on 5th. Thai Kitchen in the Maxway Mall on Memorial. Tipsy Teapot. I hope you know where we are! Nile Asian Market in the DMV shopping center. East Coast Music and Video on Charles just past where Swiss Chalet closed. Boulevard Bagel. Dales Indian Cuisine.
This isn’t even a fraction of the places that need you or will die. It is pretty safe to assume that if a store is independently owned and you’ve noticed they seem quiet, they’re in trouble. Now if they suck, then going out of business is in order–but none of these places that I’ve mentioned suck. Quite the opposite, in fact. All of them will be sorely missed when they go.
Every time I drive past the new chains and see them packed with customers, I get a little more frustrated. When my friends invite me to go and eat at Mellow Mushroom or Cheddar’s, I try to steer them to a locally owned business that I want to see still open next year. And the year after. Places where you know what you’re eating, and chances are it was purchased locally. Places that value your support, your input, your personality, your uniqueness. Places that know your name and are glad you came! Places that want to keep the monotony of Anytown, USA at bay. Places whose families live in your community and want what you want for this town.
The thing is, those chains will always be patronized by the masses. Don’t worry, if you gotta get a fix, they’ll be there. But it’s the special, wise, thinking people that keep small businesses up and running. The people that care about how American streets will look in ten years. The people that know man does not live by McDonald’s and Walmart alone.
We need your help teaching others why small businesses are so important and so necessary, and so endangered, so we can share the burden and the rewards.
Next time you’re looking for a gift, or a bite to eat, or a new shirt, please consider spending your hard earned money at a small business that’s more than your average, homogeneous, made-in-China, big-box store. Help us help you maintain a better quality of life.
Delia Liuzza is the owner of The Tipsy Teapot at 409 South Evans Street, Greenville.
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