Editorial: Before it’s too late
Bill’s Barbecue, a popular restaurant chain in Richmond for 80 years, closed last weekend, apparently done in by the lingering recession and popular new competition.
The community reaction was overwhelming. Lines formed to get a final meal or pound of barbecued pork. By the last day, the restaurant could only honor pre-orders. It was swamped by customers who regretted its demise.
We feel sure the owners wondered where those customers had been when the restaurants needed them. When they came in with their regrets, their memories, their hugs and their tears, it was too late to save the business.
This happens all the time.
We know people who have owned and operated small businesses in our community who had the same experience. When years of bad results forced them to make the hard decision to close their doors, they too faced the regrets, the hugs, and the one-time customers who came in looking for a final bargain.
Our local business economy was built on mom-and-pop ventures. Those who could make a go of it stuck it out through hard times, expanded and hired more employees in good times, and found success … so long as customers kept coming in.
But once they are gone, they are gone forever.