Catch up on the small town gossip

Gossip is a small town tradition, right? And when you share what you heard from everyone else, that’s gossip. So this is the latest gossip from our little group.

Last week, I shared 3 reasons why I think self-employment is a great thing in rural places. I wanted to share a few of the replies you sent.

Vikki Dearing, a friend in the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, said:
Reason #4 – Many of those self-employed people are also contributing to a better quality of life in their rural community. Very important issue from and economic development point of view.

Dennis Deery, a small-town friend from Wisconsin, said:
Beautifully said Becky! One of my oft-held conversations with economic development people. 

Mike Kappel, a new friend from this newsletter, said he feels it’s not just self-employment that is undervalued. He felt demonized as a business owner. I’m actually encouraged by the small town officials and economic developers who are showing an interest in local entrepreneurship. Mike shared his own post about teaching entrepreneurship called capitalism, free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit.

Gary VanMeter from Randolph, Nebraska, included this little story in his latest email, and I asked permission to share it:

Most small towns face the same challenges. What makes a town unique is how it approaches those challenges.

  • Someone may buy property just to get it cleaned up and resell it to a new business wanting to locate in town. 
  • A group may buy land for housing development, sticking their financial heads out that our future is promising. 
  • Someone may start a new business betting the farm that Randolph is a great place to do business. 
  • A teacher may choose to work at our school on the premise that our community supports the institution in ways not practiced by other towns. 

As I get to know the people in the community, I have heard all of the above has already happened, and more.  

We talk a lot here about how to make changes in your town, that you have to be relentlessly positive. Tom Peters recently got fired up on this same subject and produced this handbook for creating change in your small town. (Tom lives in a small town, but he probably didn’t realize he wrote this for small towns.) Here’s the direct link to the PDF. Download it, and pass it around your town.

What cool positive gossip have you heard lately?


PS – If you have are in charge of a shop local campaign, or you have any connection to a group of local independent businesses, you might love the AMIBA Go Local, Grow Local conference. I’m speaking, but I’m also just excited about attending! See you there?