Sometimes when I read through the blog, I wonder if people think that owning a boutique is one fun party and event after another!
While I sometimes devote posts to my thoughts and feelings at the time, I don't often write about the other side of owning a small business. The difficult side. I often wonder if people would be interested in hearing those stories too! (My friend Juice has encouraged me to save them for my book someday! Believe me when I tell you it will be a page-turner!)
Knowing the ups and downs of owning a small business, I try to support other local businesses as much as possible. About five months after Zoe opened, a small Indian fusion restaurant opened in Old Town. I passed it every day on my way to the store. I want to confess that Indian food is not my first choice of cuisine - if a friend wants it, I will gladly go along but I probably wouldn't go by myself. So I admit upfront that I hadn't gone into this particular restaurant.
One of Zoe's customers did patronize this restaurant and we talked about it a couple of times. She liked their food and would often order and pick it up on her way home from work. She told me about some of their initial challenges and struggles (we all know the whole signage fun that you have in Old Town) and I told her to tell them that they weren't alone! So even though I didn't eat there, I was cheering for them and hoping they would be successful.
In the month of December, a coupon book with coupons from various restaurants in Alexandria is distributed to select zip codes. Zoe is in a similar coupon book (for stores) that is distributed in November. I noticed that this Indian restaurant had a coupon in the book and I smiled - good for them! Knowing the cost of the coupon book advertising, it said to me that they were headed in the right direction and were growing their customer base.
Yet, within a month of the coupon book release, it was announced that the restaurant had closed. I was shocked and saddened. Some might feel that I have no right to be sad if I didn't make the effort to go. And I will admit that I felt guilty. And I wondered what had happened...was there an illness that forced them to close their doors? Had they reached a point where they couldn't continue to lose money? Had they lost their passion and enthusiasm? What happened? Were the difficult days outnumbering the good days?
The morale of the story is - there are bad days and unhappy events. When you can, encourage your local small business owner. Sometimes just stopping in to say Hello can make a difference. Tell a friend if you like the store's or restaurant's offerings. Try to eat there or shop there when possible. Help them have more good days than bad ones!
On a Lighter Note...Next Up: Sparkle Returns to Zoe