How Wall Street is Affecting Smalltown America

As part of an on-going series spotlighting how Wall Street affects Main Street, and vice versa, I have been shining the focus on Hull, Massachusetts, a small town located between Boston and Cape Cod.

The reason I selected Hull is because of its off-the-beaten trail location that doesn’t derive the same drive-by traffic the way neighboring towns do.

It is, however, the home of beautiful Nantasket Beach, which makes it a destination community in the warm summer months.

However, even then, since the public parking lots are located at the beginning of the town, many visitors never bother venturing further into the town and generating any sort of boost for local establishments.

Therefore, businesses in this seaside community rely heavily on locals and those who make favorite establishments a destination.

So far, you’ve seen videos on the local supermarket’s plans to expand and followed the progress through the passing at the community’s recent town meeting; you’ve learned that a dining/entertainment business, The Red Parrot, recently prevented the auction block, and you’ve heard from the owner of Schooner’s Restaurant on how tough this past winter was and her hopes that local board of selectmen will bend their rules mandating she keeps her kitchen open as long as alcohol is being served at her bar, which enjoys a Cheers-type “where everyone knows your name” feeling.

This week we hear from the owner of Family Ties Dry Cleaners, located in the middle of the town’s business district.

The owner is no novice to how tough it can sometimes be to run a business in a town that relies heavily on locals and the occasional summer tourist to keep the lights on, as she previously ran a candy store in Hull’s same business district that opened in April of 2007 and closed due to a lack of business in September of the same year.

With her dry cleaning business she’s offering more than just cleaning of clothes under one roof, as customers can also drop-off clothing for alterations — or even purchase a children’s gift from amongst her adorable displays of books, toys and stuffed animals at the front of her shop.

She admits to feeling the ramifications of the economy on her business, and believes people are now dropping off clothes for cleaning less frequently than they did before crude oil shot-up to all-time highs.

She avoids the coupon-cutting route many dry cleaners use to reel in customers, instead prefering to simply offer what she says is some of the best prices around on a consistent basis.

But why am I telling you all this, when you can watch the video and hear from the owner yourself?

 

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