In the ‘burbs of Albany, NY, there sits a little hamlet called Loudonville. A thriving community that is as high in history as it is in capital I have been in this community since 2002 and see myself staying here to the late end, or already the end!! Several weeks back, I saw another local business close its doors for good. I was sad to see it happen. I ran into the owner and he explained that monthly operational costs killed his small business. He Said there just was not enough income to off set the overhead, so he packed it in before it packed him in. Sad, nonetheless.
That night I was speaking to my wife, Stephanie, about being upset that this business owner could not make it in today’s struggling economic scenery. George Bush and Barack Obama, aside. It seemed that the Capital District was getting consumed by a shark frenzy of corporate juggernauts. Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, Chili’s, Papa John’s, Cheesecake Factory, and Borders were crushing the little man.
I informed her that there was something I wish I could have done to help him; that is in addition to be a substantial patron. That is when she shot straight up and said, “You can!”
I replied, slightly questionably, “How? There are just only so many nights we could eat out.” She went on to tell me that while I could not do anything for this failed business, but I could help others using my own business.
In addition to being a Computer Administrator, I also help customers of National Grid save a good deal of money each month on their National Grid Electric and Gas Supply. Energy supply in New York State was no deregulated, and that meant savings for those customers. Now I have been helping hundreds of local neighbors, friends, and family save every money and earn vacation reward points just for paying their National Grid bill as that usually would, but never thought to aid businesses. Electricity and Natural Gas seem like such residential commodities.
So, what Stephanie told me to do was to present the savings program to all our favorite local shops, restaurants, stores, etc. already to those we never already patronized before. This way, in addition to putting money into their businesses as a customer, or a future customer, I would also be providing them a way to trim their bottom line! I thought the idea was bright.
So the next day, I went to my local pizza shop, and eat my usually BBQ pizza slice. While the slices were coming out of the office, I thought of what my wife mentioned. Along with my 10 dollar bill, I offered my program to the store proprietor. He liked what he heard and enrolled his National Grid account soon there after. Because his ovens burn regularly, his business consumed a high amount of energy. I was very happy to hear that he saved $437 on his first month’s bill! Multiply that by 12 and its over $5000 a year he was saving. He gave my family a pie and some Buffalo wings on the house for that night! While I did not do this for free food (no complaints), I knew this was a good thing and was grateful that my wife provided a way for us to help our community shops. Instead of someone who sells retail energy, I felt like someone who was helping, ya know? Someone who was contributing to his surroundings. It felt good.
I hope this article provided you with some insight on how we can all find a way to help our community out. From shopping locally to saving them on their expenses, we can all make it happen.
Good luck to all the local businesses out there. I wish you well and hope to find your formation some time in the future. Shoot me an email and let me know where you are located.