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By this time last year my phone was ringing off the hook with panicked people getting their orders in. I ordered a lot of boxes and made a lot of chocolate and still, the last week of Christmas had to turn business away and I ran out of boxes in all sizes. It was so busy the season came and went like a blur.

This year is very different. The phone is quiet, I have about a third of the orders I had this time last year and I think it’s going to be this way through Valentine’s Day and beyond. I generally rely on weddings to get me through the summer months but have nothing on the books so far.

I paid my rent today. My landlord is an attorney and he said the bankruptcy courts are very full right now. I look in my local paper and see pages of reposessed items from storage units, default notices and foreclosure sales. The “help wanted” pages have been reduced to a column or two. Our island’s biggest employer will close at the end of the year. It’s scary over here.

My business partner is a specialty baker. She’s usually booked well into the following year with wedding cakes by now. She has 2 weddings in December and nothing after that. She said that, of the weddings she’s been doing, the cakes are much smaller and less detailed so the brides can save money. She has spoken with other business owners she’s known for years and they are very worried. Many of them have either closed their doors, taken second jobs to keep their commercial rent paid or they’ve put their businesses on the market to sell. I put in an application at our new Whole Foods Market just in case I need a back up plan.

My landlord and my business partner both share the same opinion. There is a major re balancing going on right now. Some will survive and some will not. In my opinion the business that have not put themselves in big debt will be able to ride it out. We‘re hoping for the best but we‘re white knuckling it right now. I feel very fortunate that my husband has a good job, we have a roof over our heads and we‘re not in debt. I think I can ride this out to the summer with no adverse effects.

How are things in your area? What are you hearing? How has the economy effected you and how you live? Do you see a clearing on the horizon?

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lazylola wrote Dec 3, 2009
    • Cynthia, that is indeed scary. I was working for an oilfield company for almost 10 years. I was there when it was one office and slowly the company started to expand opening 2 locations in NM a second one in TX, one in OK and another in PA. I took care of everything for all the offices for several years until we were bought out, then they hired other admin to take care of the other offices, then the economy began its nose dive, all the other admins were laid off and then I took my medical leave, I was also laid off. There are now only 5 employees left at the local office and I forsee it closing its doors. Overall the oil and gas industry has seen many losses and I feel for all the families affected. Here in W.TX the oilfield is a major employer....so there are a lot of unemployed. I also was working part time for a wedding/event decorator and her business also experienced a loss of income with brides downsizing. For now I can’t be too worried about a job as I have to tend to my health issues, but it does make me scared to think about how hard it’ll be once I am able to join all the other people looking for a job. I don’t look forward to the competition.
      I hope your business picks up.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote Dec 3, 2009
    • Thanks, Tressy. I appreciate that. I really do feel blessed that my husband’s job is very secure and I’ll be able to go through this downturn in the economy more or less unscathed. I feel so bad for people who are staying awake at night worried about their families’ future. My business partner is a single lady so she depends on her income. She’s a wonderful person. Next month if she is unable to pay her share of the rent, I’m going to pay it all - I know she’d do the same for me.

      That’s what we all do for one another. We help each other through.

      And, Ruby, you‘re on my prayer list for the 11th. I wish I lived closer.

      Thanks for sharing. I know the topic itself is a bit negative but we all do what we can to lift one another up.estatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lazylola wrote Dec 3, 2009
    • Cynthia, thanks for the prayer, I’ll take any and all positive vibes in any way, shape or form I can get them...it would be great if you were closer, I’ll have Laurie keeping me company, so in the least I am looking forward to meeting her.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Encee wrote Dec 3, 2009
    • Cynthia, I am sorry to hear that.  I’ll be placing an order so I’m not happy about your business being slow, but am glad that I can still get my  candy by Christmas.  

      If there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know.   My business is picking up, but then it’s a young enterprise so that’s different.  

      Send me a message or chat when  you see me here.  I’m making some solid contacts and if we brainstorm we just may be able to come up with something....estatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cindylouwho1966 wrote Dec 3, 2009
    • I totally sympathize. The craft show I did was not as profitable as last year, and website sales are not coming in. I think the best thing we can do now is just network the hell out of ourselves.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marya1961 wrote Dec 3, 2009
    • I do hope your business picks up Cynthia because people do not know what they are missing...your chocolates are scrumptious..and many prayers to all who are dealing with setbacks right now..I do see a silver lining in the future..we all need to be positive.happy



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      UK Girl wrote Dec 4, 2009
    • Cynthia – as an old hand in retail all is across the ocean I'm now in my fourth recession and the other three were no picnic – so lessons learned as we all know hindsight is a wonderful thing.
      My strange forte in life is seeing what will be the next biggest trend ......... and the crystal ball is saying this " Niche and owner run businesses are the future -  when people spend they will look behind the label and want something different and unique plus made with care and consideration. Both you and Lou fall into this category – you both have niche businesses and you both hand make your product with love to consumer specifications "

      My advice is you should both add video's to your blogs and on You Tube of you either making the product or how you make the product or about the product – plus get client testimonials on your site – you might hate the idea but get over it – remember it's free and You Tube is the second biggest search engine.
      Read this article and also trust me when I say soon we will have those "old fashioned adverts" where you have the boss of the company not some actor on TV talking about the product or the company.
      [Link Removed]
      I have faith that both of you will be bigger and better at the end of this recession .........


      Ukgirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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