Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"What It's Like" | the Reality of Closing a Beloved Small Business

Maybe you weren't following my blog or page a year or two ago, or perhaps you saw the posts and it just didn't occur to you to read them. Or maybe actually following the journey of a small business owner as he said goodbye just didn't appear to be something significant. This time however, it was. Better than almost anyone who had put into words what it's like, Mr. Carlo offered all of us not only the chance to say farewell but the opportunity to glimpse the process of closing. It was painful but poignant and more than anything it showed such a love of customers and community that few people can understand.

Perhaps you would have to have been a small business owner yourself to really "get it", but for those folks who believe that a locally owned shop is just a building or a storefront or a hobby, it painted a picture of the incredible connections that people form with one another. And while being a shop owner is a privilege and an honor, it's also like cutting off a piece of yourself should it ever end. In October of 2014 they announced their closing.

Over the following weeks they shared snapshots of what it was like and as an independent business owner I grieved with them. If you didn't see the caring and connections and sense of community that was such a part of this place, then perhaps you have no soul....

While I loved that Mr. Carlo took the time to share this goodbye with all of us, part of me cried inside as I would read the posts. It was like watching a part of the neighborhood dying and even though I'd never been to his shop, I could feel the love and emotions coming through the words written on Facebook. This was a picture of Mr. Carlo taken a few years ago.

Forgive me for saying it again but it's true - this is what goodbye looks like. No chain store or big box monopoly can EVER reach this level of connection to their customers. This type of caring and friendship is special, and it is a privilege reserved only for the true independents. Sadly, we are losing more of them every year and once they are gone it's unlikely those gems and icons will ever return.

Posted on closing day, October 2014.

You can see the posts and the story here at the Facebook page because it's still up, perhaps as a tribute to what was.

One year later this appeared, a year in which I'd seen several beloved small businesses in my own area close forever too. I read these words through tears, not just for Mr. Carlo and the other locals which were now gone forever, but for the quality and commitment and dedication behind these storefronts which we likely never see again.

This is what goodbye looks like.
Think about where you spend.
Small business MATTERS.

Live Local USA | "The voice of independent businesses"

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