WHAT LEXINGTON NEEDS: Small Business, by Jennie Leavell
Photo by M. Watt
Ace, June 1994
The character of a city is defined, in large part, by its neighborhoods and small businesses. Small businesses are important to every city: they collectively employ more citizens, they tailor to and target with a clearer understanding of the community, and they frequently conduct business on a personal level, so interaction with the consumer is human.
Lexington needs to appreciate its small businesses and rally to support them. As the Wal-Marts, membership warehouses, and all those franchise chains establish themselves in the area, business diverts from the neighborhood and/or inner city to the homogenized suburb.
The chain business has but one purpose: to increase its value of stock on the national level. Their investment in each specific community is nominal. Frequently, they undercut pricing, enable one-stop shopping, and thus, place economic stress on established and specialized community businesses.
On the other hand, local businesses are deeply invested in the community in which they serve. For the most part, they believe in the town and the unique service which they provide. Lives and futures are wound into meaning by many small businesses.
Just in the past ten years, much of Lexington’s inner character has disappeared and taken many small businesses away with it. Philosophically it is said that “the parts are greater than the whole,” for example, the individual parts of a car are more valuable than the automobile as a whole. With this in mind, I think a community which values, favors, and supports the hundreds of smaller, local businesses to the one big service-for-all department store is a more valuable community: economically, physically, and in spirit.
I hope Lexington holds a bright future for small businesses. Small business needs government support and citizen support. And ultimately, small business needs the support of small businesses.
Jennie K. Leavell is the founding editor of Ace Magazine and is currently taking a hiatus while pursuing many varied and diverse interests.
[In 1994, Jennie Leavell sold Ace Magazine to Three Femmes, Inc: Susan Harkins, Peggy Blythe Morris, and Susan Saylor Yeary, as announced in the June 1994 issue.]
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