Hoping Spring brings New Hope for the Little Guys

I have just finished reading this week’s Stittsville News, and I am sad to say that I am feeling a little blue. As a small business owner, I am always routing for the other small guys in town and hoping that things are going well for them. Unfortunately, from my observations, things aren’t that great for us small guys right now.

Page 23 of the News tells me that Casual Elegance is closing up after nearly 10 years here. Owner Chantelle Turcotte sites ” the influx of big box stores into the area as making it more difficult for a small business to compete in the market”. The owner of Urban Tags, formerly of Hobin Street, is drastically downsizing her business to Sundays only at the Stittsville Flea Market. It has become a challenge for small businesses to pay their (crazy expensive commercial) rent and themselves these days.

On the plus side, I see a new store, “The Pottery Playhouse”, has opened where Art Mad used to be. (And what happened to John and Maggie and their incredibly busy business anyhow? I haven’t seen them to ask so I don’t know. I am hoping they were just burnt out and wanted to retire.) A family run business, I am hoping that The Pottery Playhouse will succeed and in fact flourish where others have had to shut their doors.

It is mind boggling that here in Stittsville, where houses are literally being built on all sides of us and folks are moving in from everywhere, we cannot keep the little independent shops open. These little independent family run shops are what makes our town special and gives it character. We all need to go out and support them.

Get your coffee at Gaia Java, hold a birthday party at The Pottery Playhouse, pick up some flowers at Pretty Pots, buy a lure and some bait at Bits & Baits, send your kids for music lessons at the West End Music school, get a sign made at Stittsville Signs, get a trophy from Mementos, go out to lunch at Napoli’s, to dinner at Nola’s. See how much you can get within a short drive from your house…. or better yet on your bike or walking!

The small guys in Stittsville are here because they love what they do and they love Stittsville. I can guarantee that if they cannot match the price you will pay for a similar item in a big box store (and they probably can and will), they can for sure out-perform, out-service and out-wow the big guys. Why? Because they are your neighbours, the parents of your children’s classmates and teammates, and they are your fellow citizens of Stittsville. They actually care if you have a good buying experience in their shop. Furthermore, money spent in Their shop will go right back to bettering Your community. We cannot say the same about the big box stores.

Don’t live in St. Itsville you say? This does not concern you? Think again. Everywhere in communities all over Canada and the States, the small business person is getting squeezed out by big business to the detriment of us all. Sure there’s a place for the big box stores, you can get the same things at the same stores right across the continent. You probably even know what aisle it’s in and don’t need any help to find it ( thank goodness!) and that’s great. But what about when you want something special– the one offs, the truly unique, the decidedly local flavor of your town? Who knows what it is, creates it and gives that to you? You know who. It’s the little guys with their small shops, big hopes and giant dreams.