Tag Archives: small towns small business

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things



I was going to write this maybe 5 or 6 times this past month but I stopped.  I guess today was the day.

I have put on many an event in Carleton Place since the 80’s and know how hard it is to get the community involved. One only has to look at our fabulous Farmer’s Market and wonder why more of our local population does not make an effort to come out each week. How about our local restaurants having to count on outside customers because they can’t survive with the business from the local population? What about a local reporter getting major grief from a few townsfolk because she wrote about new business the town needs? You think these things don’t go on here? They do every single day, and you need a thick skin, dedication, and a great sense of humor to put on anything here.

Decline in small towns began when rural communities did not recognize change with the retail-shopping trend towards urban malls. They were devastated when the retail eruption left them without customers and not enough time to fight back. To survive now, we need new approaches, trends, and changes to bring people to town. When you can’t look outside of the box, or fight organizers every inch of the way with lack of support, we might as well go back to being just a collection of gas stations, banks, and churches surrounding the school, post office, and city hall.

Without economic opportunity, the most charming town in the world can’t attract permanent residents or business. I don’t know how many times I can stress that we need to support our local events and new ideas that some take the effort and money to put forth. When you have people arguing on both sides of the spectrum and some cowering in the middle, how on earth do you expect to make a town successful.

Small towns are what made this country great, and right now people need to stop acting and thinking small. We need real results by hands on support– not just warm and fuzzy feelings. Let’s not become a monoculture. Healthy systems need healthy diversity. Let’s support the new ideas that bubble up to benefit the town without arguing for a change and see where it takes us. You just might be pleasantly surprised!