A Trouble for All Seasons

You never want to think that when economic trouble strikes, it’s going to hit you. In fact, often times it doesn’t affect you directly because your business is not necessarily in the market segment currently under fire. This has been my family’s experience for the majority of my life, at least until the last couple of years. 

Obama’s economic policies, touted as being designed to strengthen the middle class have done exactly the opposite. Millions of family owned businesses have been crushed under the weight of regulations, inflation, and an economy in decline. I want to tell you what it’s like from the view of my mother and step-father and their construction company. 

While it’s had various names over the years, All Seasons is a company founded by my step-father, whose expertise and years of experience made him a shoo-in for jobs all over the nation. Years ago, business was booming. If something wasn’t needing to be built, then something was needing to be maintained. Jake, my stepdad, was on the road constantly, and hardly ever had time to come home to sit down to a meal. A problem yes, but a good problem to have. 

He was fortunate to have diversified his customer base and even landed several larger accounts. He felt as if he had positioned his company well to ride out fluctuations in the economy. 

His company had captured the attention of a large automotive brake specialist corporation. In fact, All Seasons was used for construction jobs by this company so much that it became a primary vendor for them. My parent’s small business was booming thanks to a steady flow of work, good pay, and a strong construction market. 

Then, the recession hit and jobs became more and more scarce and payments began to shrink. Just like everyone else, even large corporations cut back their costs. For one, opening new stores came to a screeching halt, and maintenance was only being done on a “need to fix” basis. If and when jobs did pop up it was a struggle to bid the jobs at a profit in a marketplace flooded with cheap labor. 

“We would charge 80 cents per square foot on a location, then to compete we brought it down to 60 cents per square foot. Then they wanted us to bring it down to 40. That’s hardly worth the drive there!” My mom Lori would later tell me. 

Like so many others, they’re desperate for business. What jobs they do get will barely cover operating costs. “It’s not just us.” Lori said.  “It’s all of us in the construction business. We are even trying to look out for each other now. Notifying anyone if they hear of jobs in the area.”

Before the economic crisis hit, America had a strong and booming army of builders, but with Obama’s economy strangling the life out of America’s small businesses it’s only a matter of time before they may be snuffed out completely.  In the end, America IS businesses like All Seasons. Her economic power is based off of locally owned shops and job creators, like the one owned by my parents, Jake and Lori Wallace. When these small businesses cannot sustain themselves, then America cannot sustain herself.  A proud and strong nation is built by the hard work of its people. We must lift the burdens of taxes and regulations choking corporations and small businesses alike or, if it already hasn’t, then unfortunately the economic disaster may hit you too.