Some may argue that people and politics limit economic growth in our area by blurring the lines of friendship and friendly competition. Some communities are welcoming to new business while others allow personalities to fracture the economic climate of welcoming a new business.
There is no better example than the recent opening of Moes in Rome. A backlash over local eateries v. the big chain led to complaints about Moes coming to Rome. What should have been a welcoming environment for a larger chain on the struggling Black River Blvd was turned into a local debate on loyalties and native behaviors that can only hurt the business climate of Rome. Some people in Rome verbally attacked Moes for being unfair and began slandering the chain saying they won't last a year. There were suggestions that a local business gives more to the community than a franchised company like Moes. It was the classic "David v. Goliath" argument that can hurt a community without looking at the facts.
Are larger chains really that greedy? Are they bad for the community? Applebees has supported fundraisers for local schools in Rome for years. Lowes has been very generous to local non-profits. Wal Mart gives to many local fundraisers and charity. If I had to guess, the donations by larger corporations far exceed those by local businesses.
If history is any clue, Rome could look to other businesses for answers on civility, the benefits of competition, and professionalism. When ACE Hardware relocated to its current location, Lowes and Home Depot moved into Rome. ACE focused on what makes them unique, which is customer service. Remember all the doom and gloom for General Lumber? Again, General Lumber focused on their customers. And look what happened, David beat Goilath. Home Depot left Rome while the other businesses continued to survive and thrive.
The people of Rome complain about empty plazas. They desire to one day have our empty corridors filled with businesses that offer new shopping opportunities. How many times has someone wished that a business that opened in New Hartford would consider Rome as a location? With the current business climate, the people of Rome should reexamine their attitudes toward a healthy business climate. Maybe the good people of Rome should join the staff at Moes by saying, "WELCOME TO MOES!"