Lori Marble: An appreciation for small-business owners

Lori Marble

I’ve become more cognizant and appreciative of small-business owner over the last few days.

It takes a great deal of courage, stamina and self-preservation to be the head cook and bottle

washer. 

I’m always on the lookout for great customer service, and more often than not, I’ve received great care from entrepreneurs.

Maybe it is the experience of jumping off the cliff and deciding to be your own boss that makes these men and women quicker to respond, more appreciative and helpful. 

More simply, it is probably as easy as the straight path of exchange of the dollar and the product between buyer and seller.

With my newfound knitting habit, I’ve been noticing yarn.

There is this amazing yarn producer in Jefferson City, Mo., called Ozark Handspun. Their yarns are artwork on a skein. They are eye-candy. 

The whole “company” is this guy and his wife spinning and hand-dyeing. 

Their Web site is full of free patterns, each photographed using their yarns, and you want to create each and every piece.

I recently bought a piece of electronic equipment that I subsequently found I wasn’t smart enough to operate.

 I wrote this quick, pleading e-mail one night, explaining my frustration, and early the next day, I had the nicest note from one of the company owners.

One of the reporters I work with occasionally is a young woman who returned to Missouri last year after spending several years overseas as a journalist in the Middle East. 

I asked her last week if now, after spending a year home, if she was ready to start traveling again. 

Her quick answer of “no” surprised me. 

She explained how much she appreciated the small shops and friendly salespeople here. 

She talked about how she liked knowing her dry cleaner and how good it felt to call a store owner on the phone and to be remembered and liked as a customer.

It’s my hope that these tough economic times are going to be, in the end, a proving ground for the gifted small business owners, and that we as consumers come back full circle to appreciate the grocers that remember our names or the florist who always has the brightest bouquet.

Maybe we won’t be buying as much stuff, but we’ll be buying things that last from people we know and trust.

Neosho Daily News