Times of crisis demand leadership. While current and future presidential administrations, along with congressional leaders, continue to grapple with the economic crisis that has put our nation into a recession, it may be easy for the common citizen to feel powerless as retirement savings and home values plummet.
President Bush can make a speech and president-elect Barack Obama can build an economic team, but what can people do locally to improve the state of the economy?
The answer? Lead.
While national figures are leading in Washington, we need local figures to lead locally.
Leadership takes many forms and we commend three recent examples of local entrepreneurship that will help move the local economy. These people have opened businesses in tough times, taken chances where others may have shied away.
Lori and David Sleeman saw a need for a gas station in South Range. They knew the area was losing out because there was no such business there. The Sleemans stepped up and opened the convenience store and deli. They have employees and customers, and that's local economic progress thanks to their local leadership.
Bill and Laura Sever own Mickey's Tavern in Laurium, but saw an opportunity and recently re-opened a restaurant along U.S. 41 south of Calumet. The building has been one restaurant or another over the years, but the Severs figured they could make a go of it in the restaurant biz and opened Bill and Laura's. They saw a need and filled it. They too have employees and customers - more local economic leadership in tough times.
Mary Kaminski and Tom Rozich also saw a need and took a chance as they teamed up to open the Copper Island Beach Club along the Portage Canal in Hancock. The combination restaurant/bar and fitness center has a mission to help people along a healthier path. Rozich said business is picking up and they're looking forward to winter, which will bring snowmobile business to the bar/restaurant and people out of the cold to the fitness center. Again, in tough economic times, Kaminski and Rozich put forth a business plan and are helping lead the local economy.
These are just a few examples. There are more. Many, if not all, of our local businesses are feeling the pinch of our economic times. We commend all for their efforts to help our community thrive.
And finally, lest us not forget, all these business depend on local dollars. We implore the Copper Country to shop local, eat local, buy local. Local businesses employ our friends and neighbors and help make our community a vibrant place.