Mixed memories, and supporting your local, small businesses

I had to go find another USB/mouse to use while I’m editing and even two years after closing the newspaper, it’s still a little hard to dig among the detritus.

Even among the spider webs and nastiness of our outdoor storage area, the old copies of the paper, the file folders crammed with what was once crucial information to preserve, and the small trinkets people gave or awarded me through the years…. All of this still speaks to me.

And so I run when I find what I need, and pledge to clean it all up at a later date. Maybe next month. But probably next year, same as I always say.

I only share this because I want it to serve as a reminder that if you know someone who is running a small business, please support them. It’s their dream. It’s their baby. And sometimes, it’s their nightmare.

For nine years, that’s what The Oak Ridge Observer was for me. It was my dream. It was my baby. It was my nightmare.

Now go spend some money with a small business, or at least check on your friend who owns one. Help them in some small way. I guarantee you that they need it.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

About me: I write military action books similar to Vince Flynn, Stephen Hunter, and Tom Clancy. I’m also a prior USMC Sgt with Combat Action Ribbon, and a guy who spent 10+ years writing every day in the newspaper business — 9 of them with a newspaper that I started. Please consider subscribing for email alerts — I mostly post about things that either motivate or inspire you.

27 thoughts on “Mixed memories, and supporting your local, small businesses

  1. You know the best place to find stuff that you forgot you had is when you move. The
    stuff is everywhere, in dark corners of rooms, under beds, behind cabinet’s, in the
    very back of closets, down in basements, in attics, on back porches, and the number
    one collecting spot of all time, the family garage. All this stuff comes in various sizes,
    from the very large to the very small. Some in well used condition while others items
    have never been opened and are still in there original packaging, what the hell were we
    thinking? We have stuff we got as presents that we didn’t want or needed, some stuff
    we thought we just had to have, some stuff was free and we just couldn’t pass on that,
    then their was the stuff that was 60% off, and we just couldn’t pass up a deal like that.


  2. 60% off?
    I’ll take three of those!
    Good words for the local business folks. For decades the little guy (and gal) has been getting pushed out of the way by the giant chain stores and it sucks.


    1. “For decades the little guy (and gal) has been getting pushed out of the way by the giant chain stores and it sucks.”

      They really have, OG. And many of our laws favor the big boys because they’re the ones with all the lobbyists.

      Sen. Corker once said in a speech that one thing he learned going to Washington isn’t whether you’re pro-business or not. It’s whether you’re big business or not, because they’re the ones trying to change laws to favor them over the little guys.


  3. Good call, Stan. I would much rather see money I spend go to a small business owner than to the coffers of some corporation. It’s not always easy to do, but it’s good common sense to support local small businesses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, Tim. I thought of that as I wrote the article. Sometimes their hours aren’t as good, or their prices as low, but supporting them has been proven to do more for helping our communities.

      The number of ball teams, cheer-leading groups, etc., that came in seeking donations was huge, and it was always the little guys that put up the money to help them out. The big guys used “corporate” and all kinds of other excuses to turn them down.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Along the lines of supporting local business operators, how about buying American?
    I am so sick and tired of this ChiCom crap pouring in to our country. So much of it is absolute junk, made by prisoners or people getting paid coolie wages. (Can I say ‘coolie’?)
    Maybe you should start a new thread titled “Rants here, please”.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Not only do I do my best to support local businesses – I do my damn desk to shop American. I go out of my way to avoid products manufactured #1 in China (bastards put my dads mill out of business), #2 in countries that I know are just reaping the benefit from corporate outsourcing.

        Thankfully there is a small (probably hipster) movement that’s got some manufacturing back stateside. I’ve got USA-made jeans, garments and gear, and above all – shoes!!! Imagine that. Durable shoes made right here you’ll wear for a decade before you resole them.

        The small business and entrepreneurship is what made America great – and was the American Dream. That dream is almost all but gone. And is saddens me to say so. Well – not on my watch. Not even if I cut the nose to spite the face…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, and sorry to hear about your Dad’s mill. Stories like that are such heart breakers.

          I’d like to see both political parties just agree on buying American made, and push that with a tenacity every chance they get.

          But they can’t, because Wall Street/corporate donors are all about profit, which means overseas manufacturing… It’s a sad, sad situation…


          1. That’s the iron triangle man. Politicians – lobbyists – corporations.

            And it is what it is. They tore it down and are now building “luxury” home communities there. I liked it better as the old rusty empty mill. Even when it just sat there idle for years. It was a reminder to us all.

            Now for $400k you can live with a love view of the allegheny river on land probably rife with slag and other heavy-elements and pollutants 🙂


            Here’s a documentary about Edgewater Steel Corp


            1. Dang. Hadn’t ever heard it referred to as the iron triangle, but I love that.

              And thanks for sharing the history of that site. I can only imagine how much pain it must have caused seeing this go down like that.


  5. SAS shores.
    Florian gardening tools.
    All firearms and ammunition.
    Made in the By God U.S. of A.
    Hell, I’ll even buy stuff made in California – the used to be part of the U.S.
    Anyone can do a web search for “made in the USA products” and get lots more info.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Filson. Proudly made in Seattle Washington. I wish I was a lineman or in the forestry industry just so I could buy more of their field gear and use it.

    Speaking of gear – Tactical Tailor. Proudly made in Tacoma Washington. I remember when tactical tailor was a one-room shop where we all went to buy good gear. Now they’re a huge enterprise!! Quality gear. Often imitated but never duplicated.

    And a company called Flint and Tinder makes really good raw denim made in USA jeans. They target hipsters but I bought a pair just to buy American.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It SO is. And I figured you were nothing less than militant about this!! You get things that most people don’t, which is why I admire you and fight every day to be just a little bit more like you! : )

      Liked by 2 people

  7. My wife owns and operates a small business: a travel agency. You won’t find too many businesses that have been impacted by the internet more than the travel agency, yet she has weathered that storm and is doing better than ever. Why? Personal service, always the key to success in business, especially the local small business. Hardly a weekend goes by when she doesn’t get a call at home from a client who is hung up and needs her help, frequently a client that is overseas and in a real bind. And sometimes these are former clients who decided to rely on the internet and now the internet can’t help them out of a jam.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good for her!
      All it takes is one call to a big company “Help” desk and you realize in a hurry why that personal touch if worth a couple of extra bucks on the front end.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. What I have found amazing is the number of men who will decline to pay her (modest) service fees in favor of booking their entire vacation themselves online. Many times this involves a complex trip overseas with family members, for which the client is shelling out thousands of dollars. This is undoubtedly the same guy who can’t be bothered to change the oil in his car, so he pays a professional to do it. Yet for something much more complicated and expensive, he thinks he knows enough to do it himself.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Great comments, David and OG. And, David, I have the highest respect for your wife. Hope she continues to do really well — not to mention enjoy working for herself. It’s certainly amazing to work for yourself when things are going well. Tell her she has my highest respect!


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