Having lived in Highland County my whole life I have seen many businesses come and go. Like in any town, I suppose some of them going were maybe a good thing, but most of them are missed. You may be considered an old-timer if you remember: Royal Blue, Roonie’s Taxi, Penquites, Harshbargers, G.C. Murphy, Fairley’s Hardware. These are just a few off the top of my head.
Have you ever wondered the why? Why or just how did they get here? Or better yet, what happened to make them leave?
Now, maybe this is not true, but I can’t think of anything manmade that will last forever. It seems that though it may serve a very good purpose while it’s here, there’s always an expiration date. Further still, the patrons shopping there can play a huge part in that expiration date.
Highland County may have flaws like anywhere else in the U.S., but I have always felt it’s a pretty good place to be. Moving away may be a difficult, but that’s an option any of us have always had. For me, that’s never really been something I have considered. The first and obvious reason is the family I have been so blessed to have. The second is the friends I have acquired over 58 years of living here. Then, there are a variety of countless connections that I tend to sometimes look over and maybe not appreciate as I should. Add all that up and I can’t even imagine living anywhere else.
But, if you really think about it, the businesses and the folks that have come and gone before us all played a big role to why our county is such a great place to live. These pioneers made possible much of what we enjoy in our community.
One of the many libertys we enjoy is free enterprise. Should we choose to do so, any of us have the right to discover the why and can enjoy being a business owner. But it does seem in the recent past, fewer have chosen to exercise that right given to us all. More and more businesses are corporately owned. While we used to have three to four choices for a product or service, now we may only have one. This appears to be true in about any type of business. I sometimes forget that the corporation’s that own much of our local establishments have the same right to free enterprise as I do.
I would like to say thank you to all the local businesses in the county. These folks help keep the balance in our local economy that we desperately need. We need choices to help keep it all in check. Many are owned by folks we all know. Folks that were born here, live here and raised their families here. It would be hard to imagine our world without them. We can enjoy walking into their store and be greeted by name. Or to be asked, “How’s your family?” These same folks sponsor ball teams and buy lambs at the fair. They also do many other things that give back to all of us. This does not go unnoticed.
Most would agree that we should always try to shop locally. It helps the business owners and our local economy. Last week our grandson’s birthday party crept upon us and we were forced to quickly buy a present and with no time to shop. I ordered the gift online and it was delivered to our home the next day. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Did we do it wrong, or just take advantage of the conveniences we now have?
We have all seen many changes in local business. As I stated earlier, nothing manmade lasts forever. It all has its moment in time. Many of you have worked at the places mentioned or even had family members that owned them. But I must wonder, if they could somehow come back and peek in on us, would the owners of Kaufmanns, Western Auto and The Skyscraper approve of the changes and advancements we have made? Or, better yet, is all change progress? You decide.
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.