By PJ Martin Jobe Publishing, Inc – I recently attended the first meeting of the Business Association in Edmonton. I must admit, I was surprised at the number of people that attended and I feel like it was a great idea on the part of Charles and Sandy Costello and Matt Gallagher to schedule this meeting.
We all hear about the larger chain stores in the area such as Walmart or TSC, but how many of you know about the hometown folks out there just starting their businesses? Who do you call if you need a garage door repaired or a septic tank cleaned? There are local people who do these jobs, but how do you locate and contact them?
A lot of people call the Edmonton Metcalfe County Chamber of Commerce office and ask Gaye Shaw for information and she politely directs them to local businesses. There are several who call me at The Herald-News office asking for local contact information as well.
To my surprise, I learned that the chamber has a printed directory of local businesses and you do not have to be a chamber member to be listed. However, Gaye doesn’t automatically know to list them. I strongly suggest that anyone in Metcalfe County who owns/operates a small business or offers a service of some type to contact the chamber and get listed in the directory. It’s free!
This past week, the plight of our county businesses being lost has hit home to many with the closing of the Edmonton Save-A-Lot. Another local well known and loved business gone. An ever growing trend in small towns everywhere and Edmonton is not immune.
Many of you can remember, as I do, when you didn’t have to travel to another county to buy a pair of shoes, look for a Sunday dress, or buy a new washer, dryer, or refrigerator. Not that many years ago, there were several clothing stores, a shoe store, furniture and appliance stores, farm supply stores, and many ‘Mom and Pop’ grocery stores dotting the county.
Anyone could stop in at one business and if they didn’t have what you were looking for, they could direct you to another local shop that did. They all worked together and helped each other survive.
As I look around the square, there are many empty buildings where great stores once were. As I drive down the road, I see remnants of once busy buildings where you could stop and get a made to order bologna sandwich and an RC. If you needed garden seeds, animal feed, a pair of bib overalls, a can of oil, etc. you could get that too.
In these hard economic times, starting a business is rough and many don’t survive for long, but folks we need to remember to support what we already have. Yes, sometimes it may cost a little more, but it also comes with more personal reliable service and support too.