Small-town businesses need collective mindset

By: LindaLou Haines
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Every other week in the Record, it is my joy to share positive news in this column about new businesses, existing businesses doing new things, business anniversaries, awards or other special kudos. I make an effort to be fair to all businesses and especially when there is more than one of a specific kind of business in the area. For any small town business community to succeed, businesses need to have a collective mindset. What does that mean? That means they need to think beyond their own doors or their computer. While their own enterprises needs to be business people’s priority, for a business community to flourish, businesses must also think about how each business can support the community of businesses. This could include discussing joint marketing strategies that could support all of them like a downtown business association (not a new idea); co-op advertising that builds on a national brand ad campaign (Ed Marson does this). It could also mean planning joint events like “Sidewalk Days”; offering coupon opportunities to several businesses working together (buy something at store No. 1 gets you a discounted deal at No. 2, for example); or several small businesses co-hosting a Chamber of Commerce monthly mixer like Colfax Barber Shop and Bob’s Dogs did very successfully recently. These are just off the top of my head. There are many more proven ideas that small towns with struggling business districts have used successfully in the past, even in our area, such as both Grass Valley and Nevada City. To thrive as a business in the Colfax area, I believe, we must put aside the hyper-competitive thinking that tends to knock others down, and work to build up each other for the collective good of the whole Colfax area business community. Comments are always welcome: Keeping the collective mindset going: COLFAX RAILROAD DAYS 2011 BUSINESS FAIR is coming up from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1. The Business Fair is an annual event held in conjunction with the annual RAILROAD DAYS weekend. The fair will be located in the parking lot behind Main Street’s historic Freight Depot. The deadline to sign up to participate in the Fair is Sept. 23. For more information about the Business Fair, contact Lorrie LeFevre at (916) 202-2851 or Let’s give a big bravo to the local businesses who will have already reserved booth space at the Fair: BeautiControl Skincare, artist Nancy Hakala, Connie's Decors, Exwire/, 24 Seven Fire Protection, Sierra West Satellite, Suburban Propane, Empire Driving School, Bonnie Sue Doll Clothes, Karen Kelly’s collar scarves, Colfax Veterinary Hospital, Community Gift & Thrift, Colfax Heating & Air, Duffy's Hot Dogs, All Show Gelato & Italian Ice. Plus, these non-profits will have informational booths: Baptist Church, Colfax Lions, Gold Country Lioness, Girl Scouts, NorCal Tea Party Patriots. Take this opportunity to get to know your local businesses and organizations in a fun atmosphere. And, don’t forget, also at Railroad Days, the sixth annual outdoor Quilt Show along Main Street, coordinated by Whistle Stop Quilt Shop, with strong volunteer support. Contact Whistlestop at 346-8482 or It is an annual Colfax treasure. Don’t miss it. Congratulations to two new beer abd wine liquor licenses in our area: Dottie’s Cafe, 38 N. Main St. and Emily’s Nosh Cafe, 33945 Alta Bonnynook Rd., Alta. More news about them next time. Send me suggestions for Colfax area businesses that have been in business for 20 or more years, so I can highlight them in a future column: Thanks to Lou Anna for this idea.