Yesterday after meetings I walked down Santa Cruz Avenue here in Menlo Park. It's the main street in Menlo Park and it's where all the local shops are gathered. Retail merchants of all kinds. I noticed an absence of congestion and thought, hmmm, maybe I just hit the street at a time when people are picking up kids or running to the grocery but I guess it's not an uncommon sight.
I walked into a small clothing shop to see what styles they were displaying for the winter and I was the only potential customer there. The woman in the shop (who was one of the owners) was a delight to talk with. She was upbeat, great sense of humor and more than willing to talk with me about how things have been going for her business. Unfortunately, the story I heard from her was one that we are reading about each and every day. Business down...foot traffic down...people are not shopping as they once did.
Since nothing was happening in the store we talked at length about how business has changed over the years she and her sister have had the stores and about the many things they have done in the way of marketing their business but in the end there just aren't as many customers shopping...which is the cold reality of the times.
A story that we are all hearing about reminds me once again that each and every one of us who are self-employed, running small businesses or starting them...we need to build a community that we look to for guidance and support. We need to shop in our local communities so we are doing are part to support those that we want to support us. Maybe we can't do it in all areas as a family with kids but very little income needs to consider the place that offers the best price...but when at all possible we need to remember our community and support the business people who are struggling to maintain during these challenging times.
Perhaps even take a moment to talk with your local merchants and ask how they're doing. Let them know that you appreciate their business being there because they are part of the community you appreciate! It doesn't take any extra time to let our local merchants know that they are valued. I know it's not always dollars in their register's but it does help to know that you are aware of their world and how difficult it might be for them.
Do your best to support your community!