Shop local.

Every day the message goes out about supporting local business.

But the one place that you would think would be most adamant about helping local businesses, is often the place that gives them the most agita.

That’s right.

The towns.

Local government.

What doesn’t make sense to me…

(and hasn’t for a while) is why the very towns that benefit most from a strong local economy make it so difficult for small businesses to start up and survive.

Why do they make it so either difficult and time sucking to get a business up and running and/or to get permission to do things to build the business and expand?

A business near me wanted to change their signs. Not in a big way, just update the graphics. No size difference, no neon, no LED’s, just a new graphic.

A no-brainer, right?

Nope. It took the better part of a year to get it done. Multiple trips to Town Hall, $500 in escrow for months, mandatory appearances at town meetings, notarized documents, an engineer’s report etc.

When conditional approval came through, it was November and the condition was that she had to have the brush cleared for 2 feet around the base before the new graphic could go up. Because of snow cover that meant waiting another 5 months until the snow melted, and the work could be completed.

When I started this piece, I was also thinking of a friend who is a very accomplished bread maker.  She’s in the process of opening a bakery/café. For the past two years her bread has sold out in the first hour of the weekly farmers’ market and at her pop-up shops.

Plans were submitted and approved, the build-out almost completed. Everything looked good (the space is beautiful). Health inspector passed her easily. She was gearing up to open.

Suddenly the town questioned the approval process. A village official threatened her husband. The CO is up in the air. Lawyers have been hired on all sides.

A recent Facebook post said: “The effect is a Village that suffocates it’s businesses. The businesses that do succeed do so DESPITE our government. People who come to visit our adorable village can’t even enjoy a glass of wine outside on a summer day like they can in other towns. Support the Bread Company as it tries to get its doors open – despite the nightmare the government has put them through.”

Shortsighted.

Preventing businesses from opening, prevents them from making money, bringing in tax revenue to the town, possibly additional customers to other local businesses, not to mention what it’s costing the town to make her life and others a “nightmare.”

So, when we say support local businesses, let’s start at the local level and insist our towns and our elected officials do just that.

If you want to talk about your business and how I can help, let’s chat: 917-825-4499 or shoot me an email: anne@amaxfield.com

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