What’s Your Succession Strategy?

It’s been a while since my last posting here. Between the Christmas holidays and the recent municipal elections in my town I’ve been distracted and busy.

Actually I found myself stretching my ‘on vacation’ mindset out as long as I could so a bunch of stuff got put off until later. And from what I can tell from friends and family I wasn’t alone in that …

Anyhow, the title is a bit misleading – it’s the titling I put into the cute kid video below. But it’s also a real thing as well.

For those of you who live in larger urban areas this issue may not even be on your radar but if your place of abode is small enough and far enough away from bigger centres then it’s a different story.

The ‘city’ I live in, Grand Forks B.C, has just under 5,000 people living in it. Within the larger area of the valley and surrounds it gets closer to 10,000.

When we moved here 10+ years ago it had a Shoe store. (actually they also were an Archery store as well). A little over a year later that store closed and that was the end of the only ‘shoe store’ in town. And Archery store as well. Mind you shoes were still available from a few other places but those places sold more than shoes.

We have a single movie theatre, the Gem. Even though the building is a century old it’s up-to-date with a digital 3D projector system. The folks who own it would like to retire and of course their idea of its worth is a bit more than the bank’s idea. That makes it more difficult for a potential buyer to get funding for a purchase.

If they cannot find a buyer and / or something bad happens to them no one is sure if the theatre would carry on or not. They don’t have kids that want to carry the torch into the future. They have no Succession Plan.

That could see the town without a theatre. A lot of small mom and pop businesses have that same problem. And if those stores are the only ones that offer a certain service or product in your town that means your town has a problem as well.  And many, many small towns all over Canada and the USA face similar situations.

In my little town we’ve seen 3 store closures on the main retail street in the past year. One for family medical issues and the others because of retirement. Now if you want to buy shoes there’s the Bargain Store or its off to some place out of town. Same thing if you need work clothing like boots, safety supplies, and fine clothing.

My girl friend has been running the only office supply store for quite a while and she’s looking at retirement as well. We don’t see her kids taking on the store. So her Succession Plan is to eventually sell it. Likely that won’t be as difficult as some of the other stores and services but we won’t know how well that will work out until she tries.

Now some might think this is an individual problem for each store and in a bigger market with multiple sources to buy the same goods and services at you’d be correct. But if you live in a small town like mine (or are thinking of retiring to one) it’s Your Problem also. Your whole community’s problem.

One of the strategies being tried out in a few places across Canada is creating community Co-ops to take these businesses on and keep them functioning. Because it’s better than having to leave town for more and more goods and services.

What’s Your Succession Plan?

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