By Ray Tapajna who grew up and raised his family in Lakewood Ohio
and where he and his family have more than a 100 year history of doing business in Lakewood.
Lakewood Ohio Buy Program Reference Lakewood Observer Community Newspaper
Many cities in the U.S.
now have incentive programs to buy locally. Lakewood Ohio where I grew up, raised my family and had my own business for more
than twenty-five years, has added a new incentive to their Buy Locally Program. It is called Five Percent Fridays. Participatingbusinesses
will offer a 5% on Fridays to all shoppers who sign up for the program. Participating businesses can offer additional discounts
if they want.
Mayor Mike Summers citing studies, says for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 stays
in the local economy creating jobs and expanding the tax base for city services. He asks all to share information
on the importance of buying locally and the economic advantages that can be enjoyed.
Our Tapsearch Com Networks also has several sites dedicated to unlimited free web services and
items as a completely free courtesy of our Ray Tapajna Pages advocacy sites. All can promote their businesses, sites
or any endeavor with these unlimited free tools. All in Lakewood Ohio and other cities are welcome to use them at no charge
what so ever. The main free site are at http://tapsearch.com http://tapsearch.com/multifree and http://tapsearch.com/arklinefreebies. For a summary of all Tapsearch Com Network sites see http://tapsearch.com/super-links On most of all Tapsearch Com Network sites , we also have free message centers where all
can add a message, ad or announcement with your post being seen in real time on many pages in our large Tapsearch Com
and Ray Tapajna Pages Networks.
For example, we tell about the Lakewood Buy Program on our network and link it at
http://tapsearch.com/sarah-hricko-pages along with a link to a wonderful free book by Mario Moreno titled Leap of Reason. This is an excellent resource
for non-profit and social services organizations who want to do the best they can in fulfilling their objectives.
All can also submit a description of their buinesses or any endeavor to us and we will put
up a description link for you at our Tapearch Com sites as time permits.
The Way It Was....
Our family has about
a 100 year history of businesses in Lakewood. I grew up in our family food store. During the 1940s to 1960, there were five
food stores in just one block. Each had their own specialty and customers. The same block which included both sides of Madison
Ave between Waterbury and Chesterland avenues also had a full service bakery, ( the smell of baking started the day.),
a hardware store, a drug store, a clothing and shoe store and a paint store. Other blocks throughout thecity had similar situations.
There were rarely empty stores. It made news when a store was for rent. Later on, I had my own business
for a time rack jobbing to the larger family super markets across Cleveland. All these stores knitted neighborhoods together. During
the 1960s with Cleveland having twice the population it has today , about six super market owners were killed.
In the 1990s, the stores were gone being replaced by small stores primarily owned and operated by Arab Americans. During
this period, about twenty shop owners were killed in the course of a robbery.
When we had our family store,
going to the store was also a community event where usually the same women shopped at the same time of the day. They stood
in small groups and conversed about the events of the day. Everything was in walking distance. If someone
came into the store and asked for food, my father would make them a sandwich that was big enough to be a meal for them. We
also had free delivery with my brother Frank never stopping delivering to his aging customers even though it became a money
loser and he was at the last stages of staying in business.
I will never understand why we let this all die away.
By the time I was twenty I had years of business experience. The small stores were able to compete with the chain stores until
ceiling prices came along during the war. Ceiling prices launch a loss leader economy where volume sales were created by selling
products under costs. The smaller shops needed to make a markup on all products. The government actually gave chain stores a
way to knock out competition by selling major items under costs. I calculated that a small food store needed about
a 27 percent gross profit and from this were able to make about a twenty percent net profit which included our family income with
only about a seven percent operation cost. The chain stores operated at about a 35 percent gross profit and only had about
a seven percent net profit with their operating cost being very high which included at least five percent for advertising.
So at a young age I found that fair play was not part of the game. It also became evident people would drive long distances
for a bargain. In the end there were really no bargains. And what was once in walking distance no longer existed with everyone
needing to drive around to get what they wanted.
As the Lakewood Observer Newspaper reports, local businesses choosing
products based on what their customers need and desire guarantee a more diverse range of products and services. Local businesses
often hire people with better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know their customers.
My father would set up a week supply of meat for a family knowing what they had the week before and what everyone in the family
liked to fit their budget. The family rarely changed my father's chosen menu for them. Frequently, my father
would give them a surprise costly cut of meat at a low price. Local businesses were the life-blood of neighborhoods.
When we keep our dollars in the city, every purchase contributes towards our schools, our culture and the well being
of our friends, relatives and neighbors.
However, as an advocate for local value added economies, I know it involves
much more than just buying locally. All the money spent at retail goes fans out to where the products are made and in our
free trade world, it usually means the money goes outside the country to grow others economies and not our own. Some U.S.
corporation also keep their investments and profits in other lands to beat the taxes they would have to pay if they brought
the money home.
My biggest business mistake was assuming Americans would not shop their way out of their jobs and
they did. And they continue to do it. For more than twenty-five years, I was a trouble shooter supplier of computer components
for major corporations and manufacturers. I had accounts nationwide, in Canada and as far away as China. All the components
I sold went out of the country. I sold to China and not just bought from them. There was no such thing as
a trade deficit in any of my dealings. My office was situated in Lakewood. From there I also helped jump start the cat scan
industry and served an industrial computer manufacturer for years until free trade came and shut them down too.
I fought to the end for the last computers and computer components made in the USA. However free trade knocked us out of business
along with about one thousand small computer businesses like mine in just the tri-state area of Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
I still have the print outs to prove it. Free trade devastated all these high tech ventures.
I also witnessed the
closing of about 100 major computer manufacturers in just a short period of time and more than a million workers in the computer
industry alone losing their jobs. I saw the horror devatation left behind by free trade. We now have a working poor class
that can not longer even afford the cheaper imports. We now have miles of major streets with empty stores, empty buildings
and empty factories.
Locally value added economies have about five to seven levels of added value from the raw
product level up through the retail or end user level. The money spent at retail recycles back down the line to repeat
the process over and over again. The less levels there are the less values are added. The term -locally- does not only
apply to cities but to states and to countries. To grow an economy the right way, it can not be scattered around the
world. Doing it the right way also contributes to balance geopolitical settings where all things are considered especially
the needs of others who are left out of any of the process of added values due to competitive effects.
the second world war, the Lend Lease Program sent products and food from the USA to our allies without first being concerned
about payment. This was real free trade and launched the most awesome industrial and agricultural power in the history
of the world. In 1956, our own U.S. Federal Government sponsored the moving of factories outside of the USA and this eventually
evolved into free trade and the economic crisis we are in today. It made the U.S. a colonial power automatically with
our country having to defend its interests throughout the world.
Why we let this happen, I will never understand.
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The Way We Were
twenty of my friends and I who grew up in Lakewood, came together almost daily especially during the summers for about
ten years through our high school and college days at a little park in Lakewood. It is at Madison Ave. and
Hilliard Ave. intersection. It is called the Wagar Park . We accordingly named ourselves the Wagar AC. When
we were younger, we sat on the benches discussing daily events and spoke about the time we would be able to
drive and go everywhere. About two years later, there was a row of cars lined up on the street as we quickly found out
how much we had enjoyed so many things around the park. We were in walking distance of three movie theaters and across
the street was the best steakburger malt shop in the world. I still dream about the taste of these delicious foods that I
never found again in all my travels. There were also two baseball fields, a minature golf course, a new bowling alley and
pool hall, another deli con meeting place, a drug store right across the street with a great selection of soda
pop and treats at affordable prices, and ice cream parlor down the way a bit on Madison and more convenient shops all around
us. As we got older there were two local taverns too. We also met at my home on Arthur and Madison
where the deli-con was located and where we played football across the street in an empty gravel parking lot.
Wagar Park also took on a new attraction with many girls passing by knowing we were there. Some became part of our group
and some of the guys got married to some of them. Many of us were first generation Americans of different ethic backgrounds.
We came from lower to upper middle class families with most of us having part-time jobs. We bonded for a lifetime and
our last big general reunion was about twenty years ago. Now our reunion are smaller and are mostly held at funerals
with about one half of us in another place in heaven. We all found a partial heaven at Wagar Park. After one funeral, the
family ran across the park in celebration of their father.
Here is a line up of the way we were...... Out
of about twenty guys....
Three of us ended up being judges. One of us was a doctor About ten of us were
army officers - one was awarded many high medals. One of us was a state swimming champion who later became a prominent
architect. His name is on Lakewood High Swimming Pool as the designer. One of us became a school principal. One
of us graduated with a physics degree and was part of the space program at NASA One of us became a plant manager for
3M One of us was a regional manager for 3M One of us was a top corporate lawyer for a larger tire corporation One of us became a concrete specialist One of us became a product designer One of us became a chemical specialist One of us became a specialist in neon fabrication One of us sold real estate One of us followed in his father's
footsteps who was a regional leader in the steel union Others made their mark in other ways. I had my own
computer business in Lakewood for about twenty-five years. I was a trouble shooter supplier for computer components to major
corporations and accounts in Canada and as far away as China. I helped jump start the cat scan industry. I sold products
to China and not just bought them from them. My biggest business mistake was believing Americans would not shop their
way out of their jobs but they did and keep still doing it. I ended up fighting for the last computer and computer components
made in the USA from my Lakewood office. I traveled to the Silicon Valley frequently and knew it when it was in its
glory years. I never thought our country would give our high technology to the world like they did resulting in
millions of computer workers losing their jobs.
Like many other cities across the U.S., Lakewood surrendered to
free trade. I will never understand why we let this happened. The Lakewood Buy Program is a way back. It is yesterday
becoming today. And it all has to do with the way we were.
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