By Don Kirkland
For those of us who believe that supporting our community’s small businesses—the ones, that is, that have worked hard to earn our trust over the years—we worry a bit when we see so many corporate entities establishing a presence in our Tempe/West Chandler neighborhoods.
We don’t overlook the fact that expanding is how big companies ultimately increase profits for their owners and stockholders and, in many cases, bring new services to town and create more jobs. It’s a fundamental premise of the American dream.
Our concern, however, relates to the number of small local businesses that face the ongoing challenge of staying viable in an economy that confronts their owners with constantly increasing costs, including product pricing, marketing and, not be overlooked, Arizona’s new minimum-wage mandates.
There are no easy answers to these and the other complex issues our small-business owners face in the coming months.
However, we feel that part of our responsibility—as small-business owners ourselves and as enthusiastic supporters of the businesses that rely on us—is to remind our readers how important it is, whenever possible, to support the homegrown entrepreneurs who are established here and who need your—our—backing to keep their doors open.
It should come as no surprise to our longtime readers that we’ve tried hard to bring recognition to the businesses with which we have an ongoing relationship.
One of those is Great Harvest Bakery, where you’ll frequently find us at lunchtime or for a breakfast roll and coffee before we head into our office down the street.
Recognizing that a considerable amount of competition has sprung up in our area, and continues to do so, we know that the owners who have put their enthusiasm, know-how and energy into operating Great Harvest for the past seven years realize the importance of establishing relationships with their customers and the surrounding community.
Many of the bakery’s repeat visitors, of course, already know about the wholesome, straight-from-the-farm ingredients that go into Great Harvest’s lovingly produced breads, rolls, sandwiches and other edibles. And they know that it’s a family-built, family-run enterprise, which we believe brings something special to this community.
There are many other small businesses whose contributions to our community we likewise support, and we encourage you to do the same.
Despite Tempe’s seemingly unstoppable trajectory toward the future, we’d like to think that the same kinds of locally committed businesses that are here today will be here tomorrow, as well—for us, for our families and for those who follow us into a vibrant marketplace of the future that keeps pace with the times but retains its same “mom and pop” spirit of enterprise.