Our high school boys' basketball team recently got new t-shirts that read: Why Not Us? Why Not Now? Today after having lunch with the high schoolers that are part of my board and some high schoolers that just wanted free pizza - I made them answer questions first - I thought the same thing: why not us? Why does everyone in this community have the mind set that, our two neighboring communities, both 25ish miles away, have movie theaters so we don't need one.
And Walmart is only an hour away so we can just shop there. Oh and there's a steakhouse in the other neighboring town so we don't need one of those either. Why do we have the mindset that they have one so we can't? Or that business in town sells that or does this so I can't start a business doing that? NO. That's not the right way of thinking! I know that it's a rural area so we're all competing for the same business, but there are ways to offer similar items and draw business from outside our community, just like our neighboring communities do to us, day in and day out. Competition is a good thing...it makes businesses think outside the box and work harder to do better business. Even small things like better customer service make a difference between one competitor and the next.
One boy told me today that he doesn't like that we don't have many businesses here. So I asked what business would you like to see here? Why don't you start it? He told me he didn't need to because Walmart was only an hour away. It's thinking like that that kills me and kills rural communities. Starting and running a small business is not easy, but what happened to the "can-do" attitude of our ancestors? Why are we so apt to rely on our neighbors or settle for mediocre service or products when we have just as much ability to have the best movie theater or grocery store or cafe or steakhouse? Why not us? Why not now? I'm here to make a difference in this community because I believe that rural communities are great places to live and to have a business. After all, we don't have as much in this area so there are more opportunities to start those niche businesses for those living here.
This is my plea to shop local as much as you can. I know it's hard and sometimes prices are a little higher, but the more you shop and support their business the better things will get for them and for other businesses in town because that money will be staying here. Check out the 3/50 Project - for an innovative way to support your local brick and mortars. This provides a great resource for where our money goes when we shop elsewhere and there are also some really cool flyers if you're a local business!
Things are going to change around here...I believe in this community and our ability to compete. I believe in our ability to grow. I believe in the opportunity to make this a better place to live for people of all ages. There are people out there and I'm gonna figure out ways to bring them here to live and shop. Just watch.