Saturday, February 21, 2009


Most of us are wondering when the economy will reach the bottom. Many of us are wondering whether we will still have a job when it does. But for some businesses, the recession has fallen into their laps with a boom......boom times that is. While many retailers are either closing stores, or closing down completely for fallen sales, repair businesses are trying just to keep up with their business.
While in better times, many items are considered disposable as the cost to repair them is nearly one-third the cost of a new one, these days of watching our pennies make repair a viable and desirable option. This is true with electronics, and especially television repair centers these days where business is never better. Same goes for vacuum cleaner repair shops and car mechanics as well. While the auto dealerships are largely deserted, the service bays are full to capacity, as we try to milk another year or two out of our aging vehicles.
Another business seeing a resurgence of sorts is the local shoe repairman, known as cobblers. Never has a resole or re-heel been so in demand as we carefully weigh the cost of replacement dress shoes versus the cost of repair. While there will not be a flood of young people wanting to learn the trade, these older craftsman can bring your expensive dress shoes back to life for a fraction of the cost of new ones. Many shoe repair shops have been dying out, the ones still in operation are experiencing sales volumes unheard of for generations.
Needing a new suit or party dress? Experts say the best place to go shopping for them is in the back of your closet. And so brings us to another resurging business, the neighborhood tailor. Alterations on older clothing is in demand, especially since many Americans have become health conscious and have larger clothing needing taking in. Although not many will be willing to admit it, alterations on older clothing can save a pretty penny over the cost of new.
Nothing in the back of the closet? You guessed it, the last business seeing an influx of customers due to the economy is the local thrift shop. Or more to the point, the thrift shops outside of your neighborhoods, lest you be seen coming in or going out of them. This is especially true of thrift stores near affluent communities, where the rich will donate expensive clothing items just to make room for the latest styles and fashions. If you are willing to swallow a little pride, and pick through other peoples hand-me-downs, the thrift store experience can actually be the best bargain in town, especially if all the item needs is a little dry cleaning.
Other changes in patronage due to the faltering economy? How about a run on old fashioned board games as a cheap form of entertainment, or a visit to the local library as opposed to the expense of purchasing a new book. Got a vacation coming up? Local parks and recreation departments are reporting an increased interest in camping sites, one of the most economical vacation weeks any family can spend, as long as you already have the equipment.
Want more growth industries due to the economy? How about cheaper all you can eat buffets, charitable food banks, and yes, the $1 menu at your local drive thru are all reporting increased activity. But the king? The 99 cents or less store phenomenon that took hold a decade ago, and isn't going anywhere....but up, and I don't mean in price.

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