You are one paycheck away from unemployment (and more)….

From our local daily today:

http://www.northjersey.com/news/Poverty_touches_more_households_in_North_Jersey.html?c=y&page=1

The comments in the section for “Your comment here” kill me.

Everybody is missing the entire point of what the problem is:

Unemployment can happen TO YOU. Nobody is exempt.

And it can happen to you at any time any place anywhere. There are no promises, no guarantees, no long term solutions.

We have a very large group of storefronts in our downtown area that are vacant. The buildings are owned by one person and the rent is off the charts. This is primarily the reason why the storefronts have been vacant for so long; out of the reach of the middle class — and the middle class is usually who rents Main Street storefronts and the people who operate businesses in them.

There are now businesses moving into those formerly vacant spaces. Great news, eh?

Not surprising that the people who rent them are prior business owners: the only businesses moving in are restaurants and other eateries.

I don’t think this is the greatest. Who wants a whole downtown filled with restaurants, delis, pizzerias and franchised yogurt shops?

They already own a bar, own another deli and own another type of eatery; one of these owners has now gotten ahold of a yogurt franchise…how convenient it is 2 doors down from his deli, eh?

Out of the reach of the “little people.” And out of the reach of somebody out of work who wants to open a real business — the rents are unaffordable.

Everybody in this dumb little town are in awe over these restaurants/eateries that are opening. Meanwhile, businesses are moving OUT of this town and jobs are moving out of this town.

I’ve said it before: the “perks” that are included in living in a town are IMPORTANT when it comes to the fact that you’re looking for a great town to live in: in other words, Are jobs included?

Who gives a shit that there’s  a new restaurant opening???

9 thoughts on “You are one paycheck away from unemployment (and more)….”

  1. Service economies “work” only when time is more valuable than money. If you’re under time pressure to do something, you are more willing to buy takeout or eat at a restaurant rather than cook at home.

    There are a few ways that rent is charged for retail space. You can have a flat rate or give the landlord a percentage of sales (plus a maintenance/utilities fee), and there are other arrangements that are more complicated. In some ways, I don’t blame the people who keep their rents high as a barrier to entry. I forget how strong tenant’s rights are in New Jersey. Capital investment for a Subway or yogurt shop is a lot lower than for a manufacturing plant.

    We’ve gotten used to having to put up with a fairly long commute to go to work in order to have more affordable housing. We don’t live near where we work anymore. There is usually a lag of at least 5-8 years between the time that good jobs leave and they finally are fully replaced with crappy jobs that don’t pay much more than minimum wage. Adding insult to injury is the fact that lots of towns give huge tax breaks to Wal-Mart and other big box retailers to put a store in their town.

    My definition of a good job has long been that is in my field and pays an adequate salary for me to live in or near the town where the job is located. I have no desire to commute 2 hours each way daily. If you work on a military base, a commute of no less than 10-15 miles each way is usually unavoidable due to the size of the base. I used to work on a military base that is the size of Rhode Island due to the size of the test ranges, and that was 30 miles each way.

    When you are used to having only lousy jobs come to a town, the fact that more lousy jobs are being created (although probably only for the proprietors) may be a source of relief for city officials. I doubt that many cities have the revenue base to invest in the construction of an industrial park or other amenities that would attract better-paying jobs.

    One of the sadder entrepreneur stories that I can tell has to do with a former coworker. He left his job to start a hardware store, sinking all of his savings and all that he could borrow on his house into it. The store was located on the main road between Aberdeen, MD and Bel Air, a nearby town. I tried to talk him out of it because I believed that Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Lowe’s would put him out of business within two years. The store wasn’t in a shopping center, and unless you happened to notice the sign and remember that the store was there when you needed things, you’d never go there. He was affiliated with Ace Hardware, but even so, he had the going out of business sale within 18 months of opening the store.

  2. I live in a rural town that is part of the Chicago area but really is a world in itself. Remember the Andy Griffith Show? I’m sure everyone remembers Mayberry and that is EXACTLY what it is like here, including only a handful of cops. I live in town but there is a farm area. Income level is middle class reaching into upper middle class. My neighbors are mostly skilled jobs and quite a few own their own business.

    However in this tiny town there are several mom and pop stores and companies. One company, a website/database company is owned by this great guy who offered me a job. Had I needed a job then I would have taken it. Unfortunately he had to downsize his business and moved quite a bit of it to South Bend (as it turns out by my uncle and grandpa). Other businesses outside of restaurants include three beauty salons (one I go to and is owned by a long time childhood friend of my dad and is the sister of a famous comedian), 5 bars, three restaurants, a pet store (full disclosure I am in full on crush with the owner and he is single so hopefuly we end up together), a grocery store, a drug store, a Speedway, a funeral home, an automative shop, hardware store, newspaper (which stinks bad here because it’s all about the family that runs it), vet, floral shop, t shirt printing shop, and a few other businesses. Also, there are a lot of churches. Sounds like a lot of businesses, but outside of the chains (including Subway and McDonalds)most are small businesses and do not hire. I try to patronize all the small businesses in town instead of the chains.

    I live less than a half hour from a good sized city of 25,000 and less than 45 minutes from a few others that are good sized. I live about an hour outside of Chicago and that is where most of the really good jobs are but I would rather commute a half hour. However the area I mentioned that is less than a half hour away has a huge unemployment rate, one of the largest in Illinois. While I did work there in the past (as a substitute teacher and at the one radio station there)it too has a lot of small businesses.

    The reality in all of this is that small business owners are becoming a thing of the past. I’ll watch shows set in the past and noticed how many the dad owned a store? Now, this is often a fantasy. I would love to run my own business (and am smart enough)but it can be a risk now.

  3. It’s a long story with the 2 main owners of all the retail space buildings.

    Owner A owns the land and buildings that the former supermarket and other stores are built on. He also owns a strip of apartment buildings that he turned into condo units. Mostly Asian Indians live there. The buildings were never the greatest when he opened them many years ago.

    Onwers B own multiple commerical space buildings, plus a slew of residential homes. The kicker: these 2 do not live in this state. They more or less live on the money that the buildings generate in rent.

    The buildings for the most part remain empty. As I said, a few food related businesses are starting to set up shop, but nothing earth shattering.

    The rents, like I said, are very high and not within reach of the middle class.

  4. NWP, one of the lowest-risk ways of starting a business is to start it as a side business while you work a full-time job. It isn’t a fun way of doing it, but it gives you a chance to use money from your job to fund the business. A friend of mine weaves baskets, and she’s always out on the craft tour, as I call it, showing her baskets. It’s cheaper to pay $100 a weekend for a table than to have to maintain an ongoing place of business. People do call her with commissions, and she makes more sales that way.

    The mistake that a lot of people make is to let their overhead get out of control. High fixed costs will crush a business, which probably is why those buildings in Dude’s neighborhood stay empty

    A reason that so many businesses were “Smith and Sons” is because they were passed through generations, sparing the children the need to come up with new capital to start the business. A lot of family businesses do die. My uncle used to sell appliances, and he avoided getting crushed by Wal-Mart by shifting into high-end appliances, then sold the business when he retired.

  5. Have you ever worked in a pet store? If he’s in line to take over the business, you may be spending your last few fertile years scooping poop, risking toxoplasmosis from cats, among other lovely feces-borne diseases.

    Pet stores are another dying business. More and more, it’s direct sales from the breeder for those who want a purebred or picking up a mixed breed at the animal shelter. Blame PetsMart and Petco for that.

    The exotic pets have their own issues. Pet stores sell both live mice and “pinkies”, which are young, frozen mice for consumption by snakes and other animals.

  6. Most pet stores do not sell anything beyond fish and some small birds.

    I detest any pet store that sells dogs and cats — don’t get me started on puppy mills and how those dogs are bred with no regard to bloodlines — and don’t get me started on backyard breeders.

    If you are unfamiliar with either, google: you’ll get quite the eye opener. The dogs and cats sold in those stores have nothing but health problems. They often as not are inbred, also.

    Petco usually has an adopt a thon where local shelters show up with dogs or cats. They are usually charitable organizations.

    It’s true the small non franchised petstore is going out of business. The trend is for those fancy pet bakeries and more or less boutique stores that sell those fancy upscale items to dog owners.

  7. He doesn’t sell pets, just food and things like that and no idea where he is going with his business. It’s still too early to say what will happen because I don’t know his situation. I don’t even know if he is interested in me or women in general. I think it’s a business his parents started and he took over but I don’t know.

    I do think the best businesses are started while the person has a fulltime job. I am unemployed now but am working on marketing my website. It won’t cost me that much to launch it, especially with a variety of free to low cost ways to do so.

  8. I get my pets spayed or neutered as soon as they are old enough. I have had only one cat for the last 15 years.

    Many people who have pets shouldn’t because they don’t have the time or inclination to take care of them properly.

    When one sells commodity goods like pet food, many people are sensitive to price. I don’t know if the premium brands as 2-3 times better for the animal.

  9. The other day my dad and my mom’s best friend told me about a new possible business coming through. It had received some of the permits it needs to start construction and supposedly it will hire people. In theory it sounds good until I tell you it’s a possible drive-in movie theatre. From a personal standpoint if this goes through it will be the coolest thing. I love drive-ins. However, drive-ins aren’t exactly the most lucrative industries nor do they hire many and most jobs are parttime and maybe 6 months out of the year (if lucky). First off, since many of the construction workers out here are migrants I’d bet they hire many of them instead of hiring Americans. Second, drive-ins don’t require that many people to run them. Maybe 5-10 people, such as consession workers, people that clean the bathrooms (assuming they don’t need janitors), ticket clerks, and possibly a manager. However projectionists I believe are union but the way theatres are going who’s to say they wouldn’t just hire some kid to do this? Even if they hired a projectionist that would be the only skilled job, except maybe the manager. But even then these aren’t permanent jobs.

    Not to mention I don’t know how feasible drive-ins are. There was one 6 miles away that closed 10 years ago (summer of 2002). The one reason it closed was that they were having trouble with gangs and drugs (and this is a rural area). The town I live in is very rural and not sure how that would play out. I have a feeling they would get a lot of problems.

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