Each year, The Evening Sun tries to gauge how area businesses are doing. How is Chenango County progressing and what does the future hold for us?
No two businesses are the same, but after speaking with many of the business owners on my list this year, I got used to hearing a lot of familiar answers, and some of them left me truly surprised.
Going into this yearís Progress interviews, I knew that many business owners were apprehensive about this yearís publication. After a difficult year, the idea of speaking with the press about all of the yearís ups and downs wasnít something that many business executives were looking forward to. Especially when the downs seemed to outnumber the ups. To be honest, I was a little nervous about what I would discover in the interviews too. I donít know how those individuals felt after our interviews were complete, but I know I left with a new found feeling of hope for the future of our county.
I donít want to give away any of the particulars about our coming publication, but I can say I heard a lot of individuals say they were reluctant to talk about 2008. The year was difficult for businesses across the board. Some were forced to decrease the size of their staff. Others faced lower profits, increased prices and other issues that made their markets difficult to overcome this year.
Despite all of those difficulties, many of the companies accomplished major achievements in 2008. Some were happy with the year they had and those that werenít had reason to be cautiously optimistic about the coming year.
No one can predict what 2009 will hold. (Thatís another one of those lines I heard repeated time and again in this yearís interviews.) But I do know that Chenango Countyís businesses seem to be more resilient than I had imagined. Everyday the headlines outline the latest business that is folding in the current economy, but I think Chenangoís outlook is a little brighter than that. I hope that 2009 allows all of the businesses a chance to rebound from a difficult year, but even if it doesnít, I know that many of our businesses will find a way to be successful even in difficult times.
The outlook may not be entirely positive. The year was definitely difficult for many businesses, but the prognosis isnít dismal either. Thereís a silver lining even in the most difficult of times.