by Brian Lamar, Contributing Writer

It seems like doom and gloom out there folks. It is hard to sugarcoat it all. There is the threat of war with Russia if they don’t stop misbehaving. Inflation is at a 40-year high. Gas prices are soaring.

This all comes on the heels of one of the biggest labor shortages and one of the strangest societal upheavals in our lifetime…known as COVID.
Businesses all over are hurting. Small businesses make up a majority of our country’s jobs and they are so much more important than anyone realizes. When they begin to fail enmass, that’s when we hit rock bottom as a Nation.
Now, I said all of that to say this. No more negativity from me. Here is the simplest way to help. I am about to piss a lot of people off though.
Let’s focus on the restaurant industry, although this plan can work for any industry like beauty, hardware, tech, etc. My family is a “go go go” family. Cortney works out, has a demanding job. I have a demanding job and a side hustle that is time-consuming, our kids are in choir, band, sports, etc.
Because of our lifestyle, we have gone out to eat much more often than a family should. Due to the economic uncertainty of the near future, we have decided to become a family that only eats out once a week at the max.
We don’t want to abandon the places/people we love, nor should you. No one is going to blame you if you stick to a tighter budget though. Here is our family’s plan that I hope others will emulate.
Since we are only going out as a family once a week, we are only going to places that we want to see survive.
I have a bevy of restaurants where I personally know either an owner, manager or a favorite waiter/waitress/bartender.
If I plan to go out. I don’t plan to go to any franchise or big box store unless I am sure they are owned by a local family. The Walmarts, Outbacks, and Home Depots will most likely survive.
Be strategic with your purchases and understand that not all places can match the prices of the big box stores. If we can support each other as a community. Many businesses will last longer. If worse comes to worst, only the most supported businesses will survive.
Again, sorry for the gloom and doom. I really don’t understand why this isn’t standard practice all the time, but in dire times we should circle the wagons and make sure we have each other’s six.
Check with your local chamber of commerce for a list of family-owned businesses. Good luck out there folks.