My prayers go out to the families affected by the recent closing of Archway Cookies. I can relate with their situation – having been laid off from my job less than 1 year after my wife & I moved to Ashland in 2003.
I’d like to issue a challenge to my neighbors here in Ashland. I believe there are more than enough talented, hardworking people in this area to create more jobs than our community has ever seen. The secret to creating those jobs requires risk – but tough times are generally when risks are taken.
Consider Archway Cookies. The company started in the midst of the Great Depression. In the late 1930s Harold & Ruth Swanson started baking oatmeal cookies and doughnuts in their garage in Battle Creek, Michigan. They didn’t have factories – nor did they have a way to distribute their cookies across the country. Instead, the Swansons took their cookies to local stores and packaged them in clear wrappers – making their cookies irresistible to hungry shoppers. Twenty years later, Archway was a household name, and Ashland had its very own plant, which provided hundreds of jobs for our local residents for many years.
Here’s my point.
Imagine what our city could look like a decade from now if our residents would commit to creating their very own products and services with excellence – and worked at building their ideas into local businesses that provide jobs for others.
Ashland has plenty of people who take pride in doing excellent work. There are also many great entrepreneurial ideas floating around in the minds of our people.
Perhaps you have a great cookie recipe of your own that people rave about. You may be skilled in woodworking, crafts, sewing, accounting, teaching or gardening. The list goes on and on.
You have the potential to become an entrepreneur and start something out of YOUR garage, which could provide for your family, and might someday employ hundreds of Ashland-area residents.
Others in our town have lost fortunes in the stock market. If that’s you, I encourage you to take a fraction of the money that remains and consider investing in a great idea that a motivated, hard-working Ashland resident has. Your investment might bring a return that far outdistances the Dow in the coming years.
I believe that times of financial hardship like these are when risks are taken, and the best ideas come to fruition.
In 2006, I took that big step, and started a web design & marketing company out of our spare bedroom. The company has grown modestly, and today my company employs 4 full-time employees in our office in downtown Ashland. Not a large company by any means – but we’re committed to creating a quality product, and we continue to grow.
I think there are ways that all of us can help ensure that Ashland REMAINS someplace special. Whether your contribution is starting a business that offers a quality product or service, investing in one of those local small businesses, or simply buying products & services that are produced from one of these local businesses, everybody can contribute.
As I read the comments on the Ashland Times-Gazette website, the thing I kept hearing was, “somebody needs to do something.” I couldn’t agree more. We ALL need to pull together as a community and put our ideas, our work ethic, and our finances behind making it happen. Here’s How:
The team at Spire Advertising & Web Design have helped entrepreneurs get started in building businesses from the ground up. Call us and see how we can help with your website, advertising or your marketing research.
UPDATE 12/05/08: Archway will be re-opening under new ownership.