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Despite this we Stay- Dec. 18, 2008

Locally Owned and Operated

by Carl Dunn

HUERFANO- When you live in a rural area, you get to know your neighbors and you get to know the people who actually own and run the local businesses.  Because I like acronyms, I’ll call them BOs (business owners).  If you have a problem with something you buy, you don’t have to sit down and write a letter and spend 42 cents or, worse, send it back and wait six weeks to get your problem resolved.  You just go down to the store and you say, “Hey Bart, this waffle iron doesn’t work right.”  And (because none of us ever takes another person’s word for it) Bart takes the waffle iron and plugs it in and sandwiches his hand in the waffle iron then squints at it.  And he says, “Aw, just grab another one.”  No forms to fill out in triplicate, no waiting in line for an hour, no stickers, no little kids throwing up on the floor in front of you.  And then Bart says something the customer service people up in the big city never say to you, “It’s nice to see you.”  And he says that because he HAS seen you before – probably at the feed store getting worming medicine for your horse while he’s buying gloves.

    Beware if a business says it’s locally owned, but you never see the owner shopping at Family Dollar.  Beware if the owner wears designer suits or carries a designer handbag (or both).  Who are fashion designers anyway except people who can’t find work doing anything besides drawing pictures of clothes that do not fit 95% of working class people?  Designers need to be supported about as much as Ted Turner does, maybe a little less.

    Our local BOs are one of us.  They have cow poop on their boots.  Or their truck has bite marks on it from horses.  They buy from other local businesses.  Their kids go to school with our kids.  Sometimes their car breaks down on the way home, and they need help from one of the locals.  Maybe the guy with the waffle iron, they never know.  The way our BOs have chosen to make their living is serving the public, which honestly has to be primarily a thankless job, particularly in a depressed area like Huerfano County that doesn’t have a lot of designers living in it.  Face it, this area COULD be a poster child for Prozac.  But it’s not.  The people here are tougher than that.  We hunker down and survive.  When the going gets tough, we don’t hop a plane to Bermuda and spend a couple weeks on the beach getting our heads straight.  (Although, frankly, that does have a certain appeal, especially in February.)  Nah.  We go over to Charlie’s and rent a movie about the Bermuda Triangle.  But, hey, that’s what makes locally-owned-and-operated so wonderful.  We’re all suffering together.

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