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April 28, 2014

Recently on a website entitled “I Own Downtown” was an article that I found enlightening at times and entertaining at other times. “This is Why Merchants are So Angry, Grumpy, and Irritable” was the title of the article posted by Ben Muldrow.

It was posted in 2013 and I don’t know where the author was from, so his cost quotes might be different here, but the whole concept is really good, I thought.

“The average downtown retail space in America is about 2,000 square feet. The average downtown rent in America is about $16.40 per square feet. That means that the normal downtown retailer is paying about $32,800 a year in rent.

“So, without standard market up of 50%, the retailer needs to sell $65,600 worth of product just to break even. For rent. Alone.

“Okay, a little more math. Let’s get slightly more complicated now. Did I mention my mom taught math in high school?

“Ok, back to class.

“You need lights and heat. Average monthly bill of $674.09 x 12 = $8,089.08. Need to sell another $16,178.16.

“Insurance is $1,458.00.

“Phone, fax, internet is $218 x 12 = $2616.

“Security is $54.18 x 12 = a$650.16.

“Window Washer is $12 x 24 = $288.

“Cash register tape, shopping bags, toilet paper, etc. is $28.68 x 12 = $344.16.

“Total is $5,356.32.

“Need to sell another $10,712.64.

“Grand total of $92,490.80 simply to exist.

“WAIT!!! So, if you process credit cards, it will cost you an additional $2,034.79 to process all those payments.

“96,560.40.

“But people should make money, even a little money, right? So let’s add in the average starting salary for a teacher in the lowest paying state in the union, Montana.

“$26,734.

“That brings it to $150,028.40.

“At this rate a downtown business needs to sell $577.03 every single day that it is open. Every single day, simply to be compensated the same as America’s lowest paid teachers. And this is all in a perfect vacuum. This assumes that every product you buy, you sell. There are no sales. Nothing is shoplifted. Nothing is scratched, dented, rotten, or ruined. Yet, we wonder why those merchants are so grumpy. We wonder why when we walk in their store, they always seem to expect us to do something for them. We have to make a change. The time is now for the rebirth of the Merchant Class. We need to elevate the role of local business owners. Elevate the independent thinkers, and the creative risk takers. Empower the future to own downtown, and make a good living doing it.”

So often we don’t consider others, we only consider the outcome we wish for ourselves.

The answer to putting on your event is not to have the businesses give you the money to do it.

The answer to going to your conference, class, contest is not for the business owners to pay for you to go.

The answer to your banquet, awards, dinner is not to have the local businesses owners donated and give so it costs you nothing.

The answer to your community event is not to get businesses to sponsor so that you have lots of money to give to someone else … if they wanted to give to cure stupidity or whatever other cause, they could give to that. Only ask for help on the help you need, not to pad your budget.

The answer to you having a fund raiser is not to compete with the very business owners that you have asked for your school events, your school trips, your school scoreboard, your school awards.

The answer to saving $5 on your concession stand cost is not to purchase 100 miles away rather than at the very businesses who have supported your endeavors.

The answer to your program is not to assume the businessman wants to pay for it so that the participants don’t have to.

The answer is what do you think the businessman needs to want to be a partner with you? How can you work it so that you’re both being helped?

We need to wake up and realize having a grocery store in town is important. Important enough to support them by purchasing from they so that they can stay in business.

We need to wake up and realize that ordering online does not bring in for the Kid’s Inc. youth program, the Chamber of Commerce, the local sales tax that pays for your running water, your roads, and keeps your toilets flushing.

Let’s appreciate what we have and utilize what we have. We don’t want to lose it.

As Kevin Ngo said, “If you don’t make the time to work on creating the life you want, you’re eventually going to be forced to spend a LOT of time dealing with a life you don’t want.”

And as we’re working to make our community stronger, remember “Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already,” said Dave Willis.

See you on the bricks!