The Little Guys

The nearest grocery store. Target. Your favorite restaurant. You probably know all of these places well. You might even know several of the employees. But what about that mini-mall you pass on your way to the restaurant? That one with the vacuum cleaner repair shop, the dry cleaner, and the accountant? The one with the barely-visible signage, flaked paint, and overgrown bushes. Have you ever paid it any attention? Those businesses exist because they fill a need. Maybe not your need, but someone’s.

I like to think about the people working there. The ones I’ve likely never (knowingly) met. I wonder whether I’m just out of the loop and these businesses are insanely popular, the workers having more work than they know what to do with, and I’ve just blindly ignored them. Or maybe these businesses are struggling to stay in business. Workers holding on to a sorely-needed paycheck, hoping the business doesn’t go under. Perhaps the dry cleaner will be replaced by a boutique, closely followed by a different dry cleaner.

These seemingly-quiet, out of the way businesses are just as much a part of the community as any other highly-visible business. You may not be paying attention to them, but it doesn’t make them any less important. The workers are your neighbors, your fellow consumers, and, if you own a business, your customers.

Try not to forget about the “little guys”. They’re just like everyone else.

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John Higley

John Higley

I'm a software developer, working remotely from Richland, WA, working on solving the many issues of managing financial services products on the web. I'm fascinated by the user experience of web sites and applications and read way more than I should. Working on effectively sharing knowledge and ideas has become a recent, but burning, passion.

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  • Matt McGee

    I wonder if there’s something this group of writers/contributors can do to support SMBs. “Small Biz of the Month”? Something else?

  • Lou Galindo

    Christian and I have tried to make it a point to specifically visit locally-owned restaurants when we dine out, rather than chains, and they have been some of the best meals we’ve had here. We figure we can stimulate the local economy and our appetites at the same time.

  • Michael Speegle

    Man, I used to wish that my vacuum cleaner would break just so I could get it fixed by a guy who’d probably been doing it for fifty years. Never happened, though.