Publisher's Note: Keep your head up
By Jody Reese
Is it OK if I eat too much around Thanksgiving if it helps the economy?
The news from Wall Street isn’t good and it’s not much better on Main Street. My staff and I hear from many local businesses — especially those selling large durable things, such as cars — that consumers are holding back. On the other side, though, many restaurants and service businesses are faring much better. This could be a result of consumers’ having more money from substantially lower gas prices and that in New Hampshire any job losses have been offset by new hiring.
New Hampshire’s lack of large-scale home-building and no auto manufacturing gives us an edge in surviving, but that doesn’t mean we will be — or have been — immune.
Though local businesses can’t escape the larger business cycle, many small businesses can beat the odds by being aggressive and asserting themselves when the chains start pulling back. Though I’ve promised to keep quiet about some developments, there are several businesses looking to expand.
Recessions can be great opportunities for businesses to take back market share from the big guys as those companies reduce staff and services. Instead of keeping your head down, stick your head up, be noticed and see what opportunities await.
The rural nature of New Hampshire makes public transportation here very expensive. As part of the widening of Interstate 93, the state has put public money into bus routes to Boston. An unintended result is that Manchester is losing much of its out-of-town bus service. A new state-built facility along the interstate in Londonderry is now the central hub.
This poses problems for people who live in downtown Manchester, who have no car and commute out of town regularly. But it does make more sense for the state and public transportation. The Londonderry facility provides huge amounts of parking, a maintenance area for buses and easy access on and off the highway.
That doesn’t change that it’s not good development for Manchester, but Manchester’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen is to blame for not getting ahead of this thing years ago. And Manchester could have offered a lot — everything the Londonderry location offers and city infrastructure around it. Inaction has a price.
But my alderman’s a good guy
We get the government we deserve. Manchester residents may complain about higher taxes and crummy services, but we have no one to blame but ourselves. We continue to elect aldermen who have strong ties to non-elected city officials. Now, that doesn’t mean we need to elect some of the more oddball characters who seem to run against the incumbents. It just means we need responsible and reasonable people to step forward to run who aren’t connected to City Hall.
For all my criticism of Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta, he isn’t connected to vested interests in city government. As Guinta looks forward to his next hill to climb, who will step forward to lead the city? More vested interests or new leadership without an ax to grind?