Monday, January 26, 2009

Shout Out to the Little Guy

It's official. We're in a recession. Ugh. After watching all the lists and lists of big corporations laying off thousands and thousands of workers today, my mood hit the dumps, somewhere near where our economy is wallowing. But it wasn't because Home Depot or Target is going to have a flat year. I feel for them, and all the workers losing their jobs. It's the pits. But even more, I wonder, how can the little guy survive when the giants are stumbling?

By little guy, I mean, mom and pop shops.

I'm partial to them because I grew up in a household where my dad owned his own company. I learned all about profit and loss statements, cinching your belt, not just pleasing the customer but getting to know them, care about them, help them out, and most of all, hoping to hold your head above water while the economy is in the gutter.

I love little businesses. I love hole in the wall restaurants, small boutiques with quirky gifts, tiny jewelers with artisans who make the jewelry they sell right there, micro-vineyards, the local hardware stores, you name it. I love small businesses.

We went to a small, locally owned restaurant for lunch yesterday, Bali Fusion. My oldest daughter's find. She needled us until we finally gave in and made it our family lunch outing. On the door, the owners had written in improvised paint: "Welcome Friends." The restaurant was very cozy. The food, Indonesian, was awesome. The wait staff amazing. The atmosphere, family-run friendly. The price, more than reasonable. But there weren't many people there.

How can they survive, I wondered.

And without them, what does that do to Tulsa?

When my family moved here in the early 80s, the city wasn't very diverse at all, not much in the way of varying cuisine, people, art, you name it. Tulsa has come a long way. America has, for that matter. And it's mom and pop shops that help us get there. The independent souls who take that chance and put their ideas out there. They are the heart of the American dream.

I worry about the mom and pop shops like that in this economy. If slumps are tough on the big firms, they're a veritable h*** for the little guys. So here's my shout out to the little guy. Support one if you get a chance. The could use it.


Kim Kasch said...

Oh...I know what you mean. My dad had his own bookbindery. We struggled as a family for years.

So, I hope everyone will remember the little guys and gals out there.

PJ Hoover said...

I've totally been using this as decision-making criteria and hope others are, too!

Stacy Nyikos said...


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Amen, sister. I'm 100% with you. AND when you shop locally owned and operated, more money stays in the local economy which is good for all little guys everywhere. My heart breaks when I see a long-standing little shop or restaurant close it's doors permanently--because everyone in town thinks Walmart or Applebees is a better deal. Okay, stepping off my soapbox now...

Ello said...

I completely agree with you and worry about this same problem. Which is why I refuse to cook and will continue to eat out at my favorite little mom and pop restaurants!

Is that self serving?

Stacy Nyikos said...

Hey, I like that! Refuse to cook. I wonder what my family will say...(they may actually cheer)

Rena said...

Hard times for a lot of people out there. I'm still fairly new to my area, so I like all the little mom & pop shops. You find better stuff at those anyway.

On the publishing note, there might be good news about a stay --