Like many other businesses in this grimmest of Holiday seasons, I can join in telling the old joke, “We are a non-profit organization. We didn’t plan it that way. That’s just the way it worked out!”
In fact, if it weren’t for real non-profit organizations (like GUMA, APOG, The Genesee Valley Conservancy, The Livingston County Historical Society and Habitat for Humanities) my company, Genesee Graphics, would have had hardly any business at all for the past two months.
Of course, things could be worse, I could still be publishing a newspaper! As we witness the almost daily cratering of the newspaper industry, (see Chicago Tribune bankruptcy), I can only count my blessings that I choose retirement over red ink almost two years ago now.
By staying in the printing and graphic design end of the business, however, I had hoped to leap a few steps up the food chain. I may not have leaped high enough!
Experience has shown that advertising bills are traditionally put on the bottom of the pile by struggling businesses. People will pay the rent, taxes, utilities, employees and all other suppliers before they pay the newspaper man.
Now I am finding out that printers may be just the next rung up the ladder. Sure, people still need stationery, business cards, invoices and sales flyers to do business, but if no one is coming in the door, those items don’t get used up real fast.
And who starts a new business in the middle of the Great Recession? About the only new business I know that was started locally this year is the Genesee Volley Tennis Club. That’s actually going pretty well, but of course, it’s a non-profit too!
So why do I bring this up? Is it just to beg for business? Not really. I don’t need your business right away (although it would be nice!). I just need you to keep doing business with all our local merchants (and keep supporting those real non-profit organizations). Eventually, some of that money will trickle down to me.
P.S. After posting this, I read an article that explains the economics of where we are. It seems, that with the government printing new money as fast as they can, we don’t lack for quantity of money. The problem is the velocity of the money. People are reluctant to spend (or loan) the money they have, so the whole speed of our economic system slows down. Apparently all we need is for everybody to start spending like there is no tomorrow again. The irony is that if we don’t, there might not be. I’m willing to do my part. I think I’ll go Christmas shopping on Main Street. See you there!