I’m writing as a concerned Montclarion who read Rachel Wyman’s guest column in Montclair Local about small business needing some TLC. She sounded the alarm and I wrote to our elected officials. Is it enough?

I don’t have to tell you: All business now, regardless of size, is beset with crazy challenges we never faced before. So if large corporations are struggling with staffing, it only follows suit that small businesses are really hurting. Just one or two team members down with COVID-19 can seriously cramp and curtail output. The business owner has to decide whether they can continue working (all of the day and into the night) to produce. It’s exhausting. Rachel poignantly describes such a journey in her Jan. 6 Town Square column.

I moved here 25 years ago. I love walking to town, and I’m blessed to have made so many friends since I’ve been here. Small business is the jewel of this town. In fact, from where I live, walking up Glenridge Avenue, I pass ToastChu, Plum Bakery, Good Bottle Refill Company, New Life Boutique, Salute restaurant, Dolly Moo, Montclair Book Center, White Rabbit Black Heart and then Giftbar.

Please hear what Rachel is saying. She’s not getting needed support from the Montclair Center BID. What would it take for a liaison to go between the small businesses in town and help them promote and support each other? To perhaps create a forum so that they can be heard — and then provide solutions so that we indeed don’t have to see another “We made the painful decision to close after X years?” What do we need to do in order to really hear small business owners — and then to take action? The Montclair Bread Company has been a staple since before I moved here in 1997. Let’s help small business in Montclair excel!

I can empathize. I’m here running an enterprise of one, a solo entrepreneur working from home. I couldn’t even imagine having to lay off team members or scale back their hours. When you run a small enterprise, you feel so responsible for your team’s welfare. If you can’t pay 'em, there is a huge domino effect that hits their families too. Not to mention the emotional toil it takes on the owner to have to deliver bad news.

Let’s make it happen, Montclair. What do we need to do other than write?

Casey Carpenter


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