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On my way to see a client this week, I noticed a store that seemed to be a staple in the area had closed. I don’t know why it closed and mentioned it to my client to see if they knew why it had closed. My client didn’t know, and I stated that this bothers me to my very core. If a business closes due to owners choosing to go on a different path, or a business has simply run its life and the owners are ready to retire, I can accept that and hope that they celebrate their time in business. But closing because they aren’t getting the traffic needed to keep afloat, that’s something that hurts me to my very core.

I’ve worked for more small businesses than corporations. I have been with individuals who have had to make those very difficult decisions and to see their dreams of what it could be diminish. Several years ago, I was working for a small restaurant. The location wasn’t great but the food that was prepared was ahead of its time in the area, healthy, fresh, and well prepared. At the time, more and more chain restaurants were coming to the area and they had lines out the door to get a seat while we were hoping for a few reservations for dinner to see if it warranted bringing in a second wait staff for the evening or cutting the early person’s shift.

As time progressed, the staff could see the writing on the wall, but we all stayed on until the last bittersweet night. Yes, we cried our last night being open but more importantly, we laughed and enjoyed our time together. What had been created in that small space was more than a restaurant ahead of its time at a less than ideal location, but a family and we still are family. Those who worked there fully understand that it was more than just a business. I am often reminded that “the phone goes both ways Stephy” when I say that we should spend more time together.

That’s what having a small business is, it’s creating a family of chosen individuals supporting a dream. When we patronize these businesses, we are supporting their dream. There are many reasons why a business may close but closing because they couldn’t make it hurts me to my very core. That’s why I started Symbiotic Marketing and that’s my overall goal. If I can help keep one business from that painful decision by assisting with marketing and getting the word out there about the amazing things that business has, I am living my dream.

All businesses have a why, because let’s be honest, leaving stable pay, benefits, all that good stuff is not easy, and many would say it’s foolish but there’s a reason behind that decision. This is my why. My son, years after the restaurant closed, mentioned to me while driving that he was concerned about another restaurant. He told me he was worried that he may close too and that he felt we don’t do enough for small businesses and that seven-year-old was right. We don’t, but I chose to try because in the end, that’s all we can do. Try to help as much as we can because small businesses are the backbone to our community but more importantly, it’s someone’s dream.