Back of the line for the bailout!
I guess it's back of the line for the bailout for us small business owners, the backbone of America.
The question, "What is the final straw in a house of cards that breaks this camel's back?"
Could the final straw be the first straw? I opened my retail handbag boutique Tabar in September of 2007. The economists now say the Recession started in December 2008. Sadly, with impeccable timing, I probably opened my store the very first day the recession began.
After a good beginning in the Fall, I hit a brick wall in Spring and everyday has been a lesson in consumer economics since.
Now I am closing the store barely one year after I opened. I have many fans and clients but not enough buyers to outlast another year of recession at the high rents I pay in Georgetown, Washington, DC.
We did it right. We offered great customer service and return policy (We either fix it, make a new bag or give you your money back!) We believe in value for your money and our well crafted, affordable leather, suede and hand dyed, hand woven textile bags were in the 150-200$ range. We adhere to Fair Trade practices and provided our designer and weavers with computers and cameras to facilitate ordering. We use women's cooperatives for the making of our gift items. We were flexible and diversified with clothing when it became obvious handbags were too specialized for this market this September. We brought in Brazilian designer LuLu's cocktail tops and dresses, hand beaded and sequined.. Again "affordable luxury" and value for your money. We advertised. As the owner I was always in the store. We gave to charity and donated product for good causes.
Right product, right place, wrong time.
Now I watch the news and wonder not what will happen to me (I already know I won't make it and have to close) but what will happen to all the other small businesses on my block.
There are no loans. There is no additional credit. The credit I have has been cut and the interest rates continue to go up though I am not at my limit nor am I late in paying.
Here I am at the back of the line.
I think I will keep my hands in my pockets to keep warm because I know there is no hand-out for me.
Who else is at the back of the line with me?