On the Road: Small Towns in the Sierra
Today I went to Oroville, a small town on the banks of the Feather River, to do an energy audit of the downtown auditorium. You can see the signs that times have been tough, but there are also beautiful buildings with manicured yards and clearly people who have taken it upon themselves to bring their idea of what a great business is to their small town.
And that’s what I love about small towns: I love that bit of ornery, that bit of pride, that braveness people bring, that says, “though times are tough – there’s adversity, there’s never enough money – we are still going to keep our chins up, we are going to stand tall, and we are going to continue investing in our community.”
Small and medium sized businesses are the bedrock and the heart of a community. The people who have that entrepreneurial spirit, the fortitude, the perseverance, and the mindset that says, yep, I am going to open up a business in my small town and this is the vision that I am going to bring – whether it’s a bakery, a bookstore, or a retail shop – These are the people who strike a chord with me because that’s what every community needs. We need those people who put down their stake, hang their shingle, and call this place home. Their business is an investment in their community that says, “I am staking my future and the welfare of my family on this small town.” I don’t think you can get a bigger commitment to a community than opening a small business.
So when I am on the road talking with merchants and community members I feel great respect for the people I meet. Some of them are ornery and cantankerous, some are friendly and open, but whatever their individual personality is, they all say loud and clear: “this is my community, this is my future, and this is what I believe in.”
Small business owners provide jobs, valuable services, and they are a huge part of why we call our towns our homes. I want to say thank you. We see what you are doing and we are here for you.
Photo credit: City of Oroville’s Facebook page