Is it true that more and more small businesses are disappearing? When I was growing up we had a local butcher shop, a fish market, a co-op grocery store, the “milk depot”. There were independent bookstores, clothing shops, hof braus, corner coffee shops. Places where you knew the owners, saw their kids working on the weekends…Now it seems that the brands that are growing and taking over the prime real estate are the ones that have the biggest budgets, the Costcos, the Dick’s, the Lazy Dogs, the Starbucks. And every marketing expert has been preaching the power of the story, so the big brands are working to tell us a story about why they are not giants that are gobbling up the little guys. But I wonder.
I love small business. I love to go to a place that is not quite “perfect”, where they may be slightly short staffed and going crazy, where the signs are hand made, where the people are genuine and don’t follow a script. I seek them out and support them and see in them the cure to mass corporate overload as they are living their American dream. I get asked often if I am going to take my restaurants big. I get all kinds of free advice and kudos and you shoulds. And maybe they are right, we have something good, so the automatic thought for many is to grow it, but why? For me, as the driver of the Denica’s brand, it is my fiduciary responsibility to my team, my family, my integrity, to ensure that our growth is organic. That means growing from the inside. For the reasons that are right for us. Not to make more money, not for ego, not for glory or fame. Instead a decision to grow our brand has to benefit more than just me, or my immediate circle. It has to provide a place for the people that are working with me to grow into positions of leadership, a place for them to make more money, a place for the people in the communities we serve to come and have a loving, friendly place to eat.
So are we growing? Yes we are growing. We are growing our people, watering and nurturing the seeds of greatness that exist in all of us. We are providing a place where they can begin to dream and to see that we can make this world a better place, one interaction at a time. The love in our organization is HUGE, though our company is small. We are bigger on the inside.
“The universe is big, its vast and complicated, and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles. And that’s the theory. Nine hundred years, never seen one yet, but this would do me.”
― Steven Moffat