In the suburbs of Albany, New York, is a small village called Loudonville. A thriving community that is as rich in history as it is in the capital. I’ve been in this community since 2002 and I see myself staying here until the end, or even the end! Several weeks ago, I saw another local business close its doors for good. I was saddened to see that happen. I met with the owner and he explained that the monthly operating costs killed his small business. He said there just wasn’t enough income to make up for the overhead, so he packed it up before I packed him. Sad though.
That night I was talking to my wife, Stephanie, about being upset that the owner of this business couldn’t survive in today’s tough economic environment. Apart from George Bush and Barack Obama. It seemed that the Capital District was being consumed by a frenzied shark of corporate giants. Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Chili’s, Papa John’s, Cheesecake Factory and Borders crushed the little man.
I informed him that there was something I wish I had done to help him; that’s in addition to being a solid pattern. That’s when she shot up and said, “You can!”
I replied, somewhat questionably, “How? There are few nights we can eat out.” He went on to tell me that while there was nothing I could do about this failed business, I could help others to use my own business.
In addition to being a computer administrator, I also help National Grid customers save a great deal of money each month on their National Grid gas and electricity supply. The power supply in New York State was not deregulated and that meant savings for those customers. Now I’ve been helping hundreds of local neighbors, friends, and family save all their money and earn vacation reward points just for paying their National Grid bill like I normally would, but I never thought of helping businesses. Electricity and natural gas look like residential staples.
So what Stephanie told me to do was introduce the savings program to all of our favorite local stores, restaurants, stores, etc. Even for those we have never sponsored before. This way, in addition to investing money in their business as a customer, or future customer, it would also provide them with a way to cut back on their bottom line! I thought the idea was brilliant.
So the next day, I went to my local pizzeria and had my slice of barbecue pizza. As the slices left the office, I thought about what my wife mentioned. Along with my $ 10 bill, I offered my program to the store owner. He liked what he heard and signed up for his National Grid account soon after. Because his furnaces were constantly burning, his business was consuming a great deal of energy. I was so happy to hear that you saved $ 437 on your first month’s bill! Multiply that by 12 and that’s more than $ 5000 a year you were saving. He gave my family a cake and some buffalo wings at home for that night! While I didn’t do this for free food (no complaints), I knew this was a good thing and I was grateful that my wife provided a way for us to help our community shop. Rather than someone who retails energy, I felt like someone who was helping, you know? Someone who was contributing to their environment. It felt good.
I hope this article has given you an idea of how we can all find a way to help our community. From buying locally to saving on your expenses, we can all make it happen.
Good luck to all the local businesses. I wish you the best and hope to find your establishment at some point in the future. Email me and let me know where you are.