Even in the bleakness of 16.2 percent unemployment in Ashe, hope lives on in many business folk around the county. It is indeed difficult to watch the headlines over the last two months, seeing the jobless rate jump more than 2 percentage points in January and another 1 plus in February. A number of stores along Main Streets in Jefferson and West Jefferson have closed. Those are the statistics, but were seeing a good spirit continue among area businesses as a dreary winter turns to warm sunny days and blooming things. Weve heard our share of comments about how no shoppers were coming around stores or car lots. I bought a car recently from a local dealer. After finding good selections to choose from at several of the other dealers in the county, thats where I happened to land. All offered good potential and leave a good taste in my mouth about buying locally. All car dealers had their concerns about where the slow economic times had left them. The winter didnt help. Its hard to look at a car when you have to work around snow drifts and fight a bitter wind. They are all happy to see the piles of snow gone. The Ashe County Chamber of Commerce has been almost annoying with its steady flow of ribbon cuttings to announce new businesses, expanded businesses, renovations or new locations. We are thankful to be challenged to get to all of them. Belladonnas moved to Jefferson Avenue in West Jefferson. Carolina West Wireless also announced its newly renovated digs. Lisa and Steve Willingham were thinking outside the box when they devised the Artists Theater adjacent to the Parkway Theater. West Jefferson Mayor Dale Hudler said at that ribbon cutting that the location is the type of place he e is hoping to see more of in Ashe. Businesses like that, sprouting up here and there, can bit by bit help rebuild an economy by importing dollars from off the mountain. People from wealthier locations will soon again be looking for a place to leave some expendable cash. I think we can find a place for it. Todays editorial and a front page story relate some of the intricacies of entrepreneurship at Triangle Vending and TYH bottled water. They are simple notions of counting pennies in a business and providing top notch customer service. These are the things that Americans and Ashe Countians do best come up with a better way to do something. Ashe County is apparently pretty good at sticking out the hard times and never giving up. We dont have many other good choices than to keep trying, but allowing spirits to flag can subtly and relentlessly pull us down. A brighter future lies ahead if we keep looking for it.
Lonnie Adamson is Editor/General Manager of the Jefferson Post.