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Editorial: Think local and give back to our businesses

Published 12:29am Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009

Despite what the experts may say about the recession being over, it’s still a tough economic climate for many small businesses and their owners.

Even those small local businesses that have weathered rough waters in the past find themselves facing a future that remains uncertain and increasing financial burdens, declining revenue, the possibility of additional expenses should healthcare become a small business requirement and relentless taxes are forcing some businesses who have been operating for years, to shut down.

When a small town’s small businesses begin to disappear, it is something that should not be ignored.

Help, is tricky. Even as funds filter into banking institutions, those banks are not letting go of it so quickly.  And even if arrangements can be made between lenders and borrowers struggling with everything from overhead to payroll, there is only so much time before those businesses who are not able to fund their own operations must seriously consider throwing in the towel.

Michigan has an abundance of good, honest, hard working men and women and no jobs to give them.

Even in a democracy, there is only so much voters can do to make an impact on their friends and neighbors with any immediacy.

So what can be done?

Our small businesses should be thought of as we do education and healthcare and taxes – so close to home that it is simply imperative to get involved.

Those companies in Michigan, farming out work to other states should reevaluate the capabilities of those businesses that are struggling right here at home, search for alternatives and put their dollars back into their own state. Entrepreneurs and companies that may be growing in their own markets should invest where they can in their neighbors, who know how to work hard and produce quality goods and services.

Consumers can help by shopping locally, for everything from groceries to gifts especially here in Berrien County. In Niles, from Main Street to the township more and more businesses are offering competitive pricing with shops on the other side of the state line.

The city of Buchanan has seen an increase in their downtown businesses offering upscale gifts, treats and even shoes – and all throughout Harbor Country, stores are stocking up on their holiday items for the upcoming season.

Now is the time to reinvest in small business, in local business, in the businesses that at one time fueled our Main Streets and can do so again.

There was a time that we called on our entrepreneurs and business owners to help supply us with everything from automobiles to fresh produce. They are asking for our help now and there is no more necessary a time than now to give a little bit.

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