Readers Respond: Down on Main Street
Home Channel News Tuesday asked the following question: Which of the following is the biggest threat to small business today: a) too little credit; b) too much regulation; c) the economic slowdown; or d) all of the above.
The most popular response was “all of the above.” Here are some highlights from reader letters:
"Struggles of small businesses in today’s market are more than just tight credit, regulations and a poor economy. This inevitable crisis was years in the making while we all stood by watching.
“We live in a society in which no one wants to take responsibility for their own actions, and it is expected for someone or the government to step up and bail us out of the mess we have created for ourselves and others. We have become entitled or at least think we are. It’s as if the average American feels it is owed to them and not because they have earned it. Since children we have trained them that everybody is a winner when in ‘real life’ that is not true.
“Lawsuits are rampant, and we settle unjustifiable suits because it makes economic sense, not because we are guilty. Therefore we have created the ‘easy money’ plan for attorneys and plaintiffs.
“We have allowed people who cannot handle their money to file bankruptcy will little or no consequences. Small businesses are caught in the crossfire of this and are the ones who crawl away wounded or dead. Then we allow the offenders to do it all over again.
“Too many times our local governments will court the competition based upon vague promises, all under the pretense of creating jobs. Hardly ever does the government come to the local small business and asked, ‘What can we do to help you grow?’ The only time they appear is when informed of the impending closure, and they can’t understand why this store cannot make it. After all, they created all those new jobs so you should be doing fine. How many city officials from Harrodsburg, Ky., went to Coleman Lumber and asked what they could do to help the 100-year-old company. How many Representatives or Senators looked for grant money for this company or worked on a SBA loan? The government only thinks about small companies when they are gone and the tax revenue is no longer coming. Then they look at the rest of us to shoulder the revenue they lost.”
— Arthur Mize
Associated Lumber Industries
“ ‘Too much regulation’ is such a generic, undefined broad-based sound byte that it has lost all its meaning. Let’s not forget that it’s the lack of regulation that got us into this mess. Exactly what regulation hurts retail? Health care? Minimum wage? Unemployment benefits? These costs affect everyone the same. This is simply the echoing of special interest groups with a much broader political agenda.
“The issue with the economy is unemployment and the lack of disposable income for the lower and middle classes. For years we have had access to home equity that never really existed, and now it’s time to pay the piper.
“Who would hire and invest in business without cash or demand? Regulation has nothing to do with it.”
— Frank Douwes
“All the above, plus some. Anti-business attitudes from Washington aid and abet this threat. Underwater home value and lack of confidence in our leaders and direction of our country. Health care. Taxes. As the old saying goes, ‘It is what it is.’ We will take these challenges head on and somehow succeed. Because that’s what we do.”
— Paul Gabbard
Black Friday breaks spending record
Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year and the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, drew more crowds and generated more sales than ever before, according to Chicago-based research firm ShopperTrak.
Retail sales on Nov. 25 increased 6.6% compared to Black Friday in 2010, according to the ShopperTrak National Retail Sales Estimate. The total sales amount was $11.40 billion in retail purchases — the highest figure on record, according to ShopperTrak. Retail foot-traffic rose accordingly, up 5.1% over the same day last year.
"This is the largest year-over-year gain in ShopperTrak’s National Retail Sales Estimate for Black Friday since the 8.3% increase we saw between 2007 and 2006," said ShopperTrak founder Bill Martin. "Still, it’s just one day. It remains to be seen whether consumers will sustain this behavior through the holiday shopping season."