42 years in business.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Economic Meltdown

“Economy does not lie in spending money, but in spending money wisely.”
- Thomas Huxley

The $8,000 tax credit to first time buyers seems to be working. This incentive coupled with record low interest rates (below 5% for 30 year mortgage) have made people get out into the marketplace and seriously consider buying a home. Their credit must be in good standing, and their score needs to be at least 680 to receive the benefit of the lower rates. We have seen first time buyers in their 40’s decide to take the plunge. We have also seen multiple offers on houses for sale. These are all good signs that the real estate market is perking up; it does not mean, however that our values are on the rise or that things are completely turning around. It is simply a step in the right direction.

Fortunately for us, Rochester seems to be weathering the storm better than many areas of the country. We are still facing higher unemployment rates, company downsizing and an overall nervousness about our personal economic condition. But, the thread we are hanging by may be a little stronger than others. Being a small business owner for 38 years I have been through 3 recessions. Times have been good and bad throughout my career. Understandably I am an advocate for supporting small– medium businesses. During times of economic crisis small businesses are the benchmark for our economy. Entrepreneurs often see a recession as an opportunity to start a new venture whether it is because they have been forced into retirement, laid off or simply want to try and capitalize on specialized loans and incentives out their to stimulate the economy. Now more than ever we should be paying attention to the small businesses in our community and elsewhere to support Americans earning a living by providing goods and services against the grain of the Big Box stores. Irondequoit has a wonderful Chamber of Commerce that supports the businesses in our community. Visit their new website to find out more information www.totallyirondequoit.com.

During times like this there is a feeling of helplessness and anger. With all that is coming out in the news about individuals taking advantage and stealing from people, it is hard to boil down the information and figure out what to do to change our lives and make it through this tough time. Every magazine on the shelves is talking about cost-cutting solutions. Investors are speaking about how to save your retirements and savings. Overwhelming is probably not even an appropriate word. Americans should be learning how to re-think their spending, living within their means, stop using credit as an alternative for living. When it comes to goods and services however, there are some things we cannot cut out, and this is the time to try and boost our local economy. Or at the very least, boost those Americans making and producing products and services in America– from a storefront or running a small business from their home.
If you have a present to buy, think about visiting a local shop instead of going to Target or Amazon for a quick find. It may take a little more effort, but if we try and buy local or buy from those who are providing a much needed service to our economy, we can rebuild our economy one step at a time. I am always trying to help out my fellow business owners by providing referrals in the hopes that the favor will be returned. I am a patron of our local restaurants and shops.
Check out our local printing companies instead of going on-line for business cards, etc. There is a wonderful toyshop in Fairport that may be one of the last of its kind locally. Also, handmade goods are everywhere. Visit www.etsy.com. You would be amazed at how many talented artists and craftspeople are out there doing what they love, working out of their homes and trying to make a living. Right here in Rochester we have a nationally known Stationary Studio that makes invitations of all kinds, announcements, etc. Visit her at www.bellacartastudio.com. Need a painting job done call J Coatings Painting and Design at 509-1280. They are an established business but have revamped and “set up shop” in Irondequoit. There are business owners that offer excellent framing for affordable prices. If you need something framed, you don’t have to go to one of the big craft stores here in town. Contact Klem’s Framing– maureenklem@msn.com. She runs a shop out of her home in Irondequoit. There is also an abundance of local artists who do fantastic work. You can find them through local art clubs and sales. We are also lucky to have such festivals as Corn Hill and the Clothesline Festival. And, for a little entertainment, there are many resources here in Rochester that are free or inexpensive. Pick up a free copy of City Newspaper for event listings. When buying groceries, take a trip to the public market and the local farmer’s markets. Here in Irondequoit we have several options for fresh produce and vegetables. We are lucky to have these resources right at our fingertips.
We can all make a difference in our economy when thinking twice about how and where we spend our money.

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