Letters to the Editor

From the Aiken Standard's June 25 front page article, "Seeking equality," I would like to applaud all three individuals highlighted for making the sacrifices that go into owning your own business. Having grown up in Aiken, and still a resident in Aiken County, I have witnessed many downtown Aiken businesses that failed to make it. Many of those businesses were considered to be upscale in perception and that perception was validated by the cost of goods or services offered. Along with that, many were considered to be more affordable in their offerings. These failed businesses were located on "highly visible" Laurens Street and "less visible" side streets to include Richland Avenue and Park Avenue, etc. Many owners found out very quickly that paying rent and business payroll tax, coupled with low profit margin, simply was too much to keep a business afloat.

Owners of those failed businesses and those still in existence in downtown Aiken, would point out that you cannot control the whims/buying behavior of someone. Whether it be considered pricey or more affordable, many people walking into a business simply want to look with no intention of buying. Some may enter a business seriously wanting to buy; however, they quickly decide not to based on the price they see. They may also decide not to buy simply because the style or design (i.e. a clothing store) is not what they were looking for.

The "grim reaper" of business failure happens all over Aiken County regardless of skin color, race or gender. I say this as one of the respondents in the June 25 article pointed out that due to the color of her skin, she has to work twice as hard. While I do not agree with her statement, this business owner has already proven she has what it takes to succeed as her business has been in operation for awhile. Removing skin color from the table, all individuals who own their own business have to work extremely hard to survive against their competition. Many well-known business owners in Aiken have missed countless family vacations; worked around the clock with no sleep; fretted over meeting the weekly payroll; and, in the process, became completely grey haired quicker than should be.

Robert G. Gossett