Note: Many thousands of “Mom and Pop” small businesses across America closed forever because of the pandemic.
Dreams were shattered, and fortunes lost, but some closed or failed to reopen due to a lack of vision and/or belief in oneself.
Being thrifty, I rarely spend a great deal of money on a pair of shoes. But, some years ago, I purchased a beautiful pair of ColeHaan dress shoes at an outlet store. They became my favorite pair to wear with a coat and tie, and I wore them out time and again. In fact, I had them resoled three times!
I remember that the last time I took them to be repaired at our local shoe repair shop, the cobbler told me that he was closing his store at the end of the year and that I’d need to prepay for the repair in cash. Although I was happy to do so, I asked him why he was closing his very successful repair shop. His answer stunned me when he said, “I want to retire and have no buyer for my business.”
Okay, so I don’t possess the world’s greatest business mind, but I wondered why the repairman’s right-hand man wasn’t buying the business and I asked him. He said that his boss wanted $500 to buy the business, but he couldn’t take the risk.
Are you kidding me? I borrowed $40,000 to open my first practice in 1978, and the price tag to open a new practice today exceeds six figures!! $500, really? The cobbler’s assistant had the skills and experience necessary to be successful and was being offered his own business for virtually nothing. He was, in fact, only paying for a lathe, an awl, a few hand tools, and some remaining inventory.
When I asked him why he “couldn’t take the risk,” he said, “I’m used to getting a paycheck and don’t know what I’d do without one.” Wow.
The picture posted is of the shop today…. still closed after all these years. In my humble opinion, it was a life-changing opportunity for the young man, but one that he “lost” by not taking advantage of it. What a shame for him and for our community, as we are still without a local shoe repair shop.
If you wish to own a small business one day, recognize opportunity when you see it and do your homework. Write your Vision and Business plan. Believe in yourself and take those steps necessary to make all your dreams come true. Yes, life in America is different today than it was pre-pandemic, but pandemic or not, we all need and want specialty services like custom carpentry, home handyman services, and quality shoe repair. It’s just part of who we are! Visualize success, invest in yourself, live the American dream, and open that Mom and Pop Shop! Good luck and best wishes!
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to believe in them.“