Its an old analogy, that of pulling ones elf up by ones bootstraps. In business, the phrase is used to describe an enterprise that succeeds by sheer hard work, self-investment and very little help from outside sources.
As Americans, we admire that path to success because it underscores values of honesty, integrity and keeping ones nose to the grindstone. Earning something that one worked hard for feels really good.
As a community, Durango has suffered from lousy economics along with the rest of the country for the last two years. Now that we seem to have reached the bottom and are beginning to trend upward, it would be best not to leave the pace of recovery to time and chance. Im suggesting that more good can come quicker by reaching down and pulling hard on our own bootstraps.
In Durango, being community-minded is part of who we are. We know the right thing to do is to shop local, recycle our waste, use squiggly light bulbs and keep an eye on the neighborhood. But there are many more ways we can directly help ourselves and rebuild our community stronger and quicker.
As John Cohen, executive director of the Durango Area Tourism Office, recently suggested, become a member of the Durango sales team and invite friends or family to the Durango area for an annual reunion. Make this years vacation a stay-cation and enjoy the multitude of amenities in and around the Durango area.
Those in the work force can ask their management or business owners to purchase goods and supplies from other local businesses, hold the company retreat in Durango and put in a bid to host the district meeting or annual industry conference in La Plata County. If the company buys from out-of-area suppliers, request those companies hold their meetings, retreats and conferences here as well.
Having fun can help our local economy. Join in more organized activities and attend more events. Do you belong to a sports organization, special-interest club or a hobby group? How about organizing a regional show, competition or tournament that brings out-of-area people into town?
Take advantage of weekly restaurant specials and dine out, see a movie or eat at home and go out for dessert. Clean out the closets and garage and donate more unneeded clothing, toys and household items to charities and thrift stores. Set aside a few bucks and a few volunteer hours for local nonprofits, charitable organizations and youth-oriented activity.
The experts remind us that economic health is a byproduct of community health.
Make it a year to do some inexpensive home improvements such as painting a room, replacing an energy-zapping appliance, planting a garden or a fruit tree, getting the lawn mower tuned up, fixing a drippy down spout or putting some caulk around a drafty window. All of this creates sparks of economic activity in our community, improves our outlook and creates new momentum.
Its hard to imagine that the single, simple acts we do can make a difference. But thats the point: Its not what we do individually but individual acts that add up collectively to make a big difference.
Pulling harder on our own bootstraps can lift us faster and higher than waiting for time and chance, and it feels so good.
email@example.com. Bob Kunkel is the downtown business development manager for the city of Durango.