Dr. Bill Atwood

Celebrating local ‘Mom and Pop’ stores in our community

When people discuss the economy of this great nation, the conversation usually turns to Wall Street, the Dow Jones Averages, and multi-billion dollar corporations. Millions of jobs depend on those institutions every day.

Most people started working outside of the home in jobs that were provided by independent businesses. My first job was as a paperboy for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. I was the businessman of that paper route who had to deliver the papers and then collect the fees for the delivery. I then had to pay the route manager for the papers and whatever was leftover belonged to me. I soon learned that when a customer moved away during the month without paying me, I was the one who suffered the loss. I quickly understood what local merchants had to deal with daily.

In spite of the risks, there are millions of people who start up a business and employ people and add to the juggernaut of the American economy. The local “Mom and Pop” operations are a perfect example of how capitalism works. You work hard and handle the problems and you succeed. Wrong product and poor service and you are out of business.

This month our little spot on the highway is going to see one “Mom and Pop” operation change to another. The Dorseys, who have operated the local Hallmark store for a quarter of a century, have decided to retire and Greg Uzzell and his family, are buying the franchise. It’s great to see capitalism in action.

During the past 25 years, the Dorseys worked hard and provided great service and, as a result, the customers stayed loyal and made their purchases in that 3,000-square-foot store. It was those 3,000 square feet that housed an operation that allowed the Dorseys to raise three great kids who have all done well as adults. In those 3,000 square feet, people were able to buy cards to express joy or sorrow or congratulation or get well wishes. Those 3,000 square feet allowed for the purchases of gift items that would delight a friend or loved one.

The Dorsey “Mom and Pop” model is just one example of the dozens of such operations that are the backbone of this community’s economy. They supported their families by giving back to the community and the community gave back to them. Everybody came out a winner. The Uzzell family has been witness to how the Dorsey’s have been successful and wants to have their piece of the American economic pie.

So around the middle of this month, the Dorseys will hand the keys over to the Uzzell family and wish them well. Greg Uzzell and his family will show us their faith in themselves as they take the risk but also a great deal of faith in us, the community. They are counting on the established customer base to give them a chance and let them prove they can be as successful as the Dorseys.

We need to point out to the children in our lives that this is how the system works. It evolves, but in the United States, a person can work, save and invest in a business and make it succeed.

All the local business owners are to be admired for their hard work and their belief in us to be loyal to them.

If we saw this play out on television, it would be referred to as a “Hallmark moment.” Good Luck, Uzzell family.