Recently, Keene has seen stores such as Your Kitchen Store, Turn It Up! and The Apothecary close down, and they’re only a small part of a larger problem as the number of small businesses everywhere is stalling. While Time Magazine says that we haven’t reached crisis-level figures yet, several factors are greatly impacting the number of new small businesses and how well-existing ones are doing.
Mary Roentsch, owner of The Apothecary, said that her business is closing so she and the pharmacist can retire, but customers such as Joanne Devost told The Sentinel that they’ll miss the personal touch and attention they’d get from someone who genuinely wants to help, rather than just make money. The Apothecary created medications for each patient at the pharmacy instead of them being manufactured in a lab, and they were a staple of the Monadnock Region, having been open since 1969.
Time said that there are multiple factors to blame for the decline of small businesses, such as exaggerated fears of failure. You’ve probably heard that 60 percent of restaurants close within their first year opening, and it’s easy to believe if you’ve seen it happen in your area. However, Time stated 60 percent actually close within three years, and what leads to so many new businesses closing is that beginning entrepreneurs in any industry are inexperienced, making it less likely for them to get funding because banks think there’s a greater risk than the reality.
Americans are also inclined to shop at large chains like Walmart instead of shopping small. Chains have had time to figure out how to maximize profit without making customers spend a lot of money, and Walmart and Target have now grown so huge that you can walk in and find basically anything you need from groceries, to clothing, to dog food at a cheap price.
According to Time, millennials are starting a lot of businesses worldwide, but only a small percentage of Americans are starting them. Those who want to create a new business can’t for one reason or another, the most common one being student debt that’s racked up from higher education. Newly-graduated students will often take whatever jobs they can get and would rather not invest in something so financially risky that could land them in even more debt.
While there isn’t a single cure-all that can take care of all of these factors at once, shopping at local businesses definitely lets them grow financially and keep them in business. Improving the education system can also prove beneficial, especially ensuring that students won’t graduate with mountains of debt that makes them less likely to take on something like entrepreneurship. Time stated that this is likely nothing more than a temporary issue and that the number of local business will soon fluctuate and grow. However, the quicker we can address these problems and get small businesses on the rise again, the better it is for our economy as a whole.
Izzy Manzo can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org