Sunday, January 10, 2010

A Dream Dies

There’s a “dairy” at DailyKos, a blog I seldom read, about a failed small business. The title is “I Watched A Dream Die Today,” and the author was almost certainly writing through a flood of tears. A friend started a “unique natural pet food store” in a small town, and the store failed. Disclosure: I don’t feed my cat expensive “natural” cat food.

The town she operated her store in does not have a well-informed and active town board or Chamber of Commerce to work on the local businesses behalf. Indeed, her requests for assistance on parking for her customers and other similar common business needs went unheeded. She is not the only business owner in that town with similar complaints, just the most recent.

An even more serious (and all too common problem nationally) was that the local townspeople didn't shop in their own town. This particular town has a very high income level, both from well-off retirees and a local university. However, rather than keep their neighbors in business, the townspeople shopped at malls and box stores in nearby towns.

In other words, she failed because she chose a poor business and opened it in a poor location. She didn’t do her homework. The lack of parking and the wealthy people who don’t shop in their bedroom community existed before she opened her store, and if she had done proper market research she could have known that before she opened a store with such a limited product range that it had little chance of success regardless of location.

And here the writer is blubbering about the failure of her friend and not able to see that the friend in any way contributed to her own demise. All failures are due to the heartless society that fails to uphold the ultra-liberal ideal.

According to this writer, small businesses have some sort of “purity” that is essential, that should attract patronage regardless of the manner in which the business is operated or the range of products it offers. We should support it not because it has structured its location, hours and products to serve our needs, but merely because it is a “small business.”

I certainly don’t qualify as any kind of conservative; I certainly am willing to agitate for financial and health assistance for persons who have fallen on bad times. Many small businesses, however, fail because they were started and operated as a “dream” and not as a business, and I’m not going to lose any sleep over them.

Not every bad thing that happens is society’s fault.

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