Thankful For Small Businesses



This year I am thankful, as always, for my family and friends. I am also thankful for the victorious Saints, my almost steady cash flow, my productive kitchen garden and my tranquil home.

I’ve moved five times in the past ten years. All because the places I rented were sold. And four out of the five times, I had the side of the house the new owners wanted to make into their new residence.

The other time an evil landlady raised the rent for all her units by 40 percent, so no one renewed their leases. I was filled with glee ever time I drove by the old place and saw the “For Rent” sign still up. They stayed vacant for more than five months.

Moving is stressful and expensive but it gave me a clear idea of what I need to be happy in my neighborhood: a good Chinese take-out joint, a corner grocery, a pharmacy, an honest mechanic, a convivial coffee shop and a great neighborhood restaurant.

As I partake the simply sublime macaroni and cheese from Sassafras Creole Kitchen, my new neighborhood restaurant, I am reminded of other small businesses that enhanced my family’s life and for which I am majorly thankful.

I lived in the Bayou St. John neighborhood for many years. When my young six-year old daughter took her first independent trip, it was to walk, a block and a half, to Terranova’s Super Market. She’d buy some candy, maybe a loaf of bread or some milk. I knew she was in caring hands. They certainly got to know one another and they developed a relationship. They could be trusted. That’s what so many small businesses always deliver.

My absolute favorite Chinese take-out place, and I believe we all need one of these to survive stressful days when you just simply cannot cook, was Hunan Wok. My new neighborhood choices in this category are slim, so I’m lucky I’m not too far from Hunan’s spring rolls and Moo Shu Pork.

Small businesses are the driving force of the New Orleans economy and provide necessary resources for local residents.  It’s also what many clients are looking for when thinking about buying a new home.

“For the past few years, walkability (being able to walk to small businesses such as coffee shops, restaurants, night spots) has been the trend and important to my clients,” says Michael Zarou, sales agent with Latter and Blum. “The neighborhoods that have walkability are the neighborhoods that are bringing people back to the city from the suburbs.”

Realtor Colette Meister, with New Orleans Real Estate Boutique, believes that being close to various services is linked to New Orleans’ past.

“Much of our inventory is historic,” she says. “Our neighborhoods have always had bakeries and cafés in them and many of our neighborhood kept these small business and these amenities intact. The walkability score is very important to clients these days.”

A report from Sightline Institute, an independent, nonprofit research and communications center, states that, “A growing body of research shows that walkable, compact communities can promote good health and a healthier planet by promoting exercise and reducing the risk of obesity; lowering car crash fatalities; reducing greenhouse gas emissions and vehicle-related air pollution; and cutting down gasoline bills and oil imports.”

It’s clear that these benefits could not happen without the industrious small businesses that make up the fabric of our neighborhoods.

So this Thanksgiving season, I am thankful for the many small businesses that make my life and yours more pleasurable and productive.

What small business are you thankful for this season?



Categories: Labors of Love