by Nelson Holmes
GARDNER- Papa Joe′s Market and its little brother, Gunny′s Grill, will be closing on January 22. Diana Cupps said that the big reason for shutting the doors was the economy. The little reason was the mild winter which encouraged the locals to make more frequent trips to Walsenburg and Pueblo.
Though the demise of another of Huerfano County′s businesses is, sadly, not an unusual occurrence, especially in an economy trying to claw its way out of recession, one still feels a degree of loss. I realize that we live in a country with a capitalist economy, where numerous factors (including plain old luck) determine whether an enterprise thrives or dies. But Huerfano County can be an unforgiving soil to grow a business in and Gardner, well, that′s like sowing wheat on granite. I always hope that the area′s entrepreneurs will be successful…and then I think, what have I done to help?
When I think of Gardner′s businesses, I realize that I haven′t been much of a customer. I tend to opt for convenience and short term savings; I′ll squeeze old George until he screams. Being that I work in Walsenburg, I′ll pop over to Safeway, possibly save a few cents, and leave nothing but a wave and a shouted hello as I pass the businesses in Gardner.
Also, many of us release our dollars in foreign territory, expending our ducats in Pueblo and Trinidad where they have little chance of coming home. Seems to me that a dollar spent in Huerfano might swim around the county a bit…doing more good than a dollar flushed down a corporate drain that might well spill into a CEO′s pocket.
I realize my talk is cheap; it′s been over a year since I′ve darkened the Huajatolla Co-Op′s door, I spent a whole dollar for some two-stroke oil at The Back Forty, and Papa Joe’s had the honor of selling me some cookies. My thesis here is that maybe, if we all dedicate a portion of our ragged and hobbling budgets to make needed purchases at locally owned businesses, maybe we can help a neighbor. A few humble successes might act as a catalyst which encourages more folk to invest in their business dreams and… who knows?
Let me forestall some of the flack I might receive; I know that the corporate retailers in this county employ a lot of people whose paychecks feed into the local economy. I′m not advocating a boycott here, just suggesting we spread some of our dollars around to locally owned businesses. And just so my point is clear… this isn′t just a call to rally around Gardner businesses, but rather an attempt to rally around all of Huerfano′s small retailers during some ugly economic times. They say a rising economic tide raises all boats. Well, it seems that the boats around here have been high and dry for some time… bucket brigade, anyone?