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How to help the economy and be a conscious consumer

Leslie and I always talk about how we would like to start up our own small business someday. We have had plenty of ideas; from a bar to a coffee shop to a vintage/art/crafts store to a restaurant to a t-shirt truck…and a few more. Since we are not ready to embark on such an arduous journey at this point, our ideas have stayed ideas (but we really hope one day we can bring to life at least one!). There are plenty of brave people, however, who got out there and started their business, and we are always impressed with the number of successful small businesses that our city enjoys.

Leslie y yo siempre hablamos sobre cuanto nos gustaria crear nuestro propio negocio algun dia. Hemos tenido muchas ideas; desde un bar, a un cafe, a una tienda de antguedades/arte/artesanias, a un restaurant, a un camion de poleras…y unas cuantas mas. Como no estamos listos para embarcarnos en algo tan complicado en este minuto, nuestras ideas se han mantenido como ideas (pero en verdad esperamos algun dia convertir por lo menos una de estas ideas en realidad!). Hay mucha gente valiente, sin embargo, que se lanzo y abrio una pequena empresa, y siempre quedamos impresionados con el numero de negocios que logran prosperar en nuestra ciudad.

With the upcoming holiday shopping frenzy, we thought that push for Small Business Saturday was a great idea. Instead of taking your money to chain stores, chain restaurants or huge retailers, the initiative encouraged people to spend their money in local businesses that ultimately are the foundation or our local economies (and frankly, their products and service are always better than the chains). Not many of us have experienced the immense struggle and the challenge that comes with owning a business, but I am sure most of us have heard about how difficult it is to create a sucessful business from scratch. Small business owners constantly face a wide array of problems; city zoning (check out our post about The Dog Spot), small clientele, finding good workers and being able to keep them (and pay them!) etc…etc.

Con las fiestas por venir y la locura por comprar, pensamos que la iniciative de fomentar el Sabado de las Pequenas Empresas fue una gran idea. En vez de llevar tu dinero a las grandes tiendas, cadenas de restaurantes o supermercados, la iniciativa pedia a los consumidores que gastaran su plata en los negocios locales que ultimamente son la fundacion de nuestra economia local (y para ser francos, sus productos y servicios son siempre mejores). No muchos de nosotros hemos experimentado la dificultad y el desafio que presenta el ser dueno de un negocio, pero estamos seguros que la mayoria hemos escuchado lo dificil que es crear un negocio prospero desde cero. Los duenos de estos negocios se enfrentan constantemente a un sin numero de problemas; problemas con la ciudad (vean la historia de The Dog Spot -este post no esta traducido -), o poca clientela, encontrar buenos empleados y poder mantenerlos (y pagarles!) etc…etc…

We love small businesses ( in case you haven’t noticed !), and even more if they are run by nice people who want to get to know their customers. Last weekend we were craving frozen yogurt – I bet now that you read that your mouth is watering as you remember that last time you had a cup…yeah, that just happened to me too – and started thinking about our possibilities as we were driving around town. The obvious choices came to mind: Pinkberry or Sweet Cece’s, both of which have prominent locations in all the West Nashville hotspots like Hillsboro Village, West End (across from Vanderbilt) and Green Hills. We finally decided on Lucy Yogurt, a local yogurt shop about two blocks from the Sweet CeCe’s in Green Hills. Guess who was there first?? Definitely not the chain. Poor Lucy Yogurt has to contend with the giant yogurt monstrosity around the corner that enjoys fabulous visibility at the front of a busy shopping center…which is obviously terrible for business.

Nos encantan los negocios pequenos (… en caso que no hayan notado!), y aun mas si son administrados por gente simpatica que quiere conocer a sus clientes. El fin de semana teniamos ganas de yogurt helado – seguro que tu boca esta salivando mientas recuerdas la ultima vez que probaste una copa de yogurt helado….si a mi me paso tambine – y empezamos a pensar sobre las posibilidades mientras menejabamos por la ciudad. Las opciones obvias se vinieron a la mente: Pinkberry o Sweet Cece’s, los dos tienen locales en West End, Hillsboro Village, al frente de Vanderbilt y Green Hills. Finalmente nos decidimos por ir a Lucy Yogurt, un local pequeno que queda a dos cuadras de Sweet Cece’s en Green Hills. Adivinen quien se intalo en esa area primero?? Definitivamente no la cadena. Pobre Lucy Yogurt tiene que luchar contra el gigante de los yogurts que se instalo en la esquina que tiene gran visibilidad al frente del mall…lo que obviamente es malo para su negocio.

We love going to Lucy Yogurt – we even have one of those punch cards that we’re working on filling up so we can get a free cup. The owner is always so nice to us and we get to talk to her and enjoy the same product that we would in any other place…good quality frozen yogurt with all the toppings. It’s just that Lucy Yogurt goes down a little better because we know that purchasing frozen yogurt there is helping someone we know stay in business and put food on their table at home. It’s a win-win.

Nos encanta ir a Lucy Yogurt – incluso tenemos una tarjeta de cliente frequente! la duena es siempre muy simpatica con nosotros y podemos conversar con ella mientras disfrutamos el mismo producto que disfrutariamos en otro lugar…yogurt helado de buena calidad con todos los toppings. Pero Lucy Yogurt es aun mejor para nosotros porque sabemos que nuestra compra ayuda a alguien que sabemos esta en este negocio intentando poner comida en su propia mesa. Es una situacion donde todos ganan.

It was great to have a conversation with the owner and learn more about her story. She and her husband owned a sushi restaurant in Hillsboro Village for 18 years, but last year their building lease wasn’t renewed so they had to move. (side note: any other Nashvillians remember that little sushi spot? I LOVED their bento box and lunch special…so sad they had to close. Turns out they were really sad about it to too…and we were all sad to relive the story while eating fro-yo) They found a new location in the Green Hills area and opened a frozen yogurt shop / sushi place. The business wasn’t as good as their old place in the village but they were ok until Sweet Ceces opened in Green Hills and the number of patrons started dwindle. Her rent is twice as high as what it used to be in Hillsboro Village, which is pathetic because the location isn’t exactly ideal. You have to pass Sweet CeCe’s, drive around the block to the back of the shopping center and go into a small strip mall to get to her place. She and her husband are also obligated to work 7 days a week now – they can’t afford to hire anyone else, and they won’t ever be able to unless her client base grows. They invested a bundle of money into this place and they are hoping things will get better.

Fue genial poder converser con la duena ysaber mas sobre su historia. Ella y su marido tenian un restaurant de sushi en Hillsboro Village por 18 anos, pero el ano pasado el arriendo de su edificio no fue renovado asi que se tuvieron que mudar. (nota aparte: algun otro Nashvilliano se acuerda de ese lugar? Me ENCATABA su bento box y el especial de almuerzo…muy triste que tuvieran que cerrar. Ellos estan muy tristes tambien…y estaban muy tristes contandonos su historia mientras comiamos yogurt). Encontraron un Nuevo local en Green Hills y abrieron el local de yogurt / sushi. El negocio no era tan bueno como antes pero estaban bien hasta que Sweet Cece’s abrio en Green Hills y el numero de clients empezo a reducirse. Su renta es el doble de antes, lo que es patetico porque la locacion no es la ideal. Tienes que pasar Sweet Ceces, manejar al rededor de la cuadra e ir a la parte de atras del mall para llegar a su local. Ella y su marido estan obligados a trabajar 7 dias a la semana – no pueden contratar a nadie, y no podran hacerlo hasta que su numero regular de clients aumente. Invirtieron mucho en este lugar y esperan que las cosas mejoren.

We talked to her for a while and even suggested that she should look into moving her store to the East side of the city. Actually, we want her to move to South Inglewood in the Riverside Village because we would love to have frozen yogurt close to us. Since she has invested so much in her current location, it would obviously be a huge, expensive task to relocate. We sure do think that her sushi / frozen yogurt shop would be a great addition to our neighborhood…

Conversamos por un buen rato, e incluso le sugerimos que viese la posibilidad de mover su negocio a East Nashville. Mas especificamente, queremos que venga a South Inglewood a Riverside Village porque nos encantaria tener yogurt helado cerca. Ya que ha invertido tanto en su actual local, seria un tremendo riesgo y caro, tener que moverse de Nuevo. Nosotros pensamos que su negocio seria una gran adicion para nuestro gran vecindario.

We were really sad to hear her story, especially since they loved working at the Hillsboro Village location. We are sure this is not the only case of small business struggle; thousand of small businesses all over the country are having a hard time staying afloat, especially in this volatile economy. They were brave to open a small business, now we (consumers, clients, patrons, regulars, or irregulars….) have to be just as courageous to take our money and support small businesses. Think about it, when you shop at small businesses your money stays around you. The owner will invest that money towards maybe hiring someone, maybe beautifying the area, or puts it back into the local economy when they turn around and support another small business. If that small business prospers, more businesses will want to come to a close location, then…more options for you, more money to that neighborhood, more value to your property (if you live close), and the benefits go on and on.

Fue muy triste escuchar su historia, especialmente el hecho que ellos amaban trabajar en Hillsboro Village. Estamos seguros que este no es el unico caso de pequenas empresas en problemas; miles de negocios al rededor del pais estan teniendo problemas para mantenerse a flote, especialmente en esta economia. Fueron valientes en abrir un negocio, ahora nosotros (consumidores, clients, patrones, regulars e irregulars…) tenemos que ser tan valientes como ellos y usar nuestro dinero para apoyar pequenas empresas. Piensen, cuando compras en pequenos negocios tu plata queda cerca tuyo. El dueno puede invertir esa plata para contratar a alguien, arreglar la fachada del lugar, o apoyar la economia local cuando invierten esa plata en otro negocio.  Si ese negocio prospera, mas negocios van a querer venir a instalarse cerca, y luego…mas opciones para ti, mas plata en tu vecindario, mas valor para tu propiedad (si vives cerca), y los beneficios siguen y siguen.

So that’s our message, support small businesses!

AND….If you are craving frozen yogurt, visit Lucy Yogurt in Green Hills at 4121 Hillsboro Cir Nashville, TN 37215. If you are looking for sushi you can get good sushi there as well! You can even call ahead your order and pick it up or eat it there, (615) 712-6858. There is free parking in front of the door and the owner is the sweetest lady you will ever meet!

Asi que ese es nuestro mensaje, apoyen a las pequenas empresas!

Y…si tienen ganas de comer yogurt, visiten Lucy Yogurt en Green Hills en 4121 Hillsboro Circle, Nashville TN 37215. Si estan buscando sushi pueden ordenar sushi tambien! Incluso pueden llamar con antelacion su orden y recogerla o comer en el local, (615) 712-6858. Hay estacionamiento al frente de la puerta y la duena es la mujer mas dulce que existe!

4 thoughts on “How to help the economy and be a conscious consumer Leave a comment

  1. At first, I was a little intimidated by the length of this post, but once I started reading I really enjoyed learning your point of view.

    I have dreams of owning a small business too, one day…

    • It’s hard to see hard working people struggling as they have to compete against giant businesses. Her product is just as good as other places but she doesnt have the nation wide name or the marketing power. We just want to help. Thanks for reading the blog!

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