Cornwall ON – So I was having lunch with an amigo and we got to talking about the situation here in Cornwall.
This person is very interesting in that they know an awful lot of people here in town when it comes to small business and of course Cornwall other small business of selling illegal cigarettes.
What they were saying is that essentially while the street cost per bag has not gone down in Cornwall; about $20 per; the availability has changed. They estimated about half the sellers in Cornwall had given up the biz as there have been many more arrests locally and that much of the flow has changed and is flooding through the Valleyfield Quebec region.
They then went through a list of businesses that have closed in town since about the holidays. It’s not that they were suggesting a direct connection; but simply that with less cash in town from sellers and from buyers who now may have to purchase much more expensive legal ciggies that there was simply less cash to spend locally.
So we started scribbling on the menu and came up with a list of 19 small businesses in Cornwall that had shuttered up since around the holdiays; from Big places like Satisfied Brakes to small shops like Bugaboo’s House of Pets or A La Carte at Cornwall Square or the Brass store in the square as well. The list included a few garages; a few convenience stores, the Dry cleaners at and book store at East Court Mall, a few clothing stores.
Either way 19 stores is a lot for a city this size in such a short time.
The one that’s bothering me most right now is Chris Weidner and his wife Christina from Cafe Connectionz who are shutting down after four years at their Water Street Internet Cafe and Oasis. A long time supporter of the Arts and all things local the couple started their business in 2007.
They literally took an old time worn building and refurbished it; added life and color and now are victims of the lack of support at all levels of Government for small independent business.
Why do Car makers who have proven they can’t succeed get bail out money when small businesses are in trouble the best they are offered are high interest loans; if even that?
Is it all the small business owner’s fault? Do they just not prepare themselves for the long haul or is there something that could be done to help small business?
I think there is. I think government’s should have incentives and less red tape for all business that earns less than a certain benchmark; an example being that pre HST if a business did less than $30K per year in sales it didn’t need to file for a GST number.
Nobody on this earth deserves a free ride, but if we only have Big Box stores employing people for near minimum wage is that really going to create the society we all want? We need independent business to add diversity to our cities and towns; to give people an opportunity to create and add to the richness of a business community and create wealth that stays in the community.
Surely small business deserves an equal shake as bloated and failing Car companies, banks, and the oil and mining industry in Canada from Governments?
So now Chris and Christina are re-entering the workforce and the doors to Cafe Connections will be closed. Chris is not sure if they will rent the facility out or simply keep it closed until one day the couple are in a better place to re-open. Cafe Connections (407 Water Street) is open until the end of March. Check out some of the Art for sale on the walls and you can get books and cd’s from some amazing local artists too.
What do you think Cornwall? You can post your comments below.