Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sign of the Economic Times

We live in a small town. Our family personally lives 12 miles from said small town. That means 12 miles from gas, groceries, post office, etc. Between town and us there are two small gas stations that have a small amount of groceries/supplies. A couple of months ago I noticed that the one small store I frequent had a sign up that the business was for sale. I questioned the owners and just figured since they were retirement age that they were retiring and ready to sell the business. After a week or so the sign came down. Fast forward to last week another sign was put up that everything must go. Today we stopped to pick up a newspaper for my dad (can't seem to talk him in to reading news on the web) and my mom questioned the owners. Evidently they have been losing money for a long time and just couldn't continue. I know that this particular family has at least owned the business as long as we have been here which is 8 years. They are actually selling everything, food and supplies on the shelves all the way up to doors, fixtures shelving, etc. The owner is in his 60's and will now have to find a job. We are heartbroken for this family. Plus this will be another gas station that went under and will sit vacant for who knows how long. I went in to the other gas station yesterday. They did have a small grill on the inside for breakfast biscuits, sandwhiches, etc. and I noticed a sign up that said the grill would be closed indefinitely due to the high prices of purchasing the food to serve. If this gas station goes out of business we will have nothing closer than 12 miles away. In our small town square numerous businesses have opened and then closed a few months later. Half of the small retail spaces in the square are sitting empty. In the next town over from us a new Walmart Supercenter will be opening in June. Not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand it is good for the consumer to have one more grocery buying choice than the just one grocery store chain in the few towns in our area. On the other that just means that many more small mom and pop operations that will have to compete and probably lose against the powerhouse of Wally World. This means the retail area that houses the small Walmart and is the centerpieces of a few other businesses will be empty. One more case in point. In my sister's small subdivision there are a handful of houses for sale that have been for sale for a while. One house in particular has had a for rent sign up forever. Today I notice the for rent sign has been changed to "Rooms for Rent". Wonder how the board of that subdivision feels about that. I am sure we will see much more of all of this as the days, months, and years roll on.


Debbie said...

I hate to get political, but you can think Obama for not knowing how to run the country. That is sad for the small business owners, but thankfully we live in a country, where for now, we can compete. If he has his way, he will own everything and then we'll really be a sad place to be.

Stoney Creek Homestead said...

We live an hour away-about 80 kms roughly 50 miles-from any major shopping. We try to go to town once a month. Our post office is only 7 miles from the farm. We plan our trips, take advantage of sales and stock up. Needless to say it is usually an all day-er!

I think the mom and pop shops, and the small farms have gotten a raw deal all the way around. Not pointing fingers, but usually what American government does, the Canadian government usually follows suit. Governments on both sides need to start listening to the little people and not big corporations.

Jen U. said...

That's really sad. We owned a mom and pop gas station with a deli and bait shop inside of it for 5 years. It was outside of a small town like what you describe. We broke even every year and that was 15 years ago. I have often wondered how businesses were making it in our current economy.

We recently had two neighbors that moved around us and they have not been able to sell their homes. One had the home for rent or sale and couldn't even rent it out. It is definitely a sign of the times and I think it is only going to get worse.