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Closing a harsh reality for small businesses

Posted January 21, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— For nearly six decades, Rowe's Men Shop has been a fixture in the Louisburg community.

And for current co-owner Mike Rowe Jr., the store has been a part of his life as long as he can remember.

"I grew up in the store," he said. "We grew up playing in the store a lot of days, because that's where we had to be."

Economy forces small businesses to close Economy forces small businesses to close

In a few months, however, Rowe will close for good the store his grandfather founded in 1952.

Sales at the store have dropped 40 percent compared with what they were three years ago. Now, Rowe says, he doesn't think he will be able to stay open past the summer.

Rowe's story is like that of many other family-owned businesses that span generations and have stood the test of time. The tough economy means slumping sales, and now, it is too much to overcome.

"Your profit margins shrink considerably because your expenses increase," Rowe said.

It's a similar situation in Cary at The Spin Cycle, which Kevin Coggins has owned for nearly two decades. It will likely close by the end of the month.

"It feels like a family member has passed away," he said. "When times are tight, people watch their discretionary spending very closely."


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  • Rolling Along Jan 22, 2009

    We too are shutting down a small retail business. We actually made the decision to shut it down about a year ago for health reasons, but the economy doesn't help much either. People don't support the small businesses so off they go. It will hurt consumers in the long run. Almost 70% of America's work force is employed by businesses with fewer than 150 employees. Yet we don't see them being helped.

  • Oct Jan 22, 2009

    We own a small business (a plumbing company) and since the housing industry was the first hard hit industry here, we are taking it a day at the time. There is no help for small businesses anywhere. What the banks have done to us is, though I am quite sure it is legal (in a time when political offices go to the people with the most money) I think it is morally wrong. They have cut off every means of help we had by raising interest on loans and credit cards which we have always paid in a way that until now was more than acceptable, lowered the credit limits so that we are all being forced to operate on a cash basis (which is hard to do when you don't get paid until after (sometimes months after) a job is finished. We have watched our retirement go to maintain us today, we have tried to keep our employees working so they aren't released into a "no job" market. We laugh when we hear financial experts tell us to have 6 months svailable savings. We don't know anyone with 6 days left.

  • texasncgirl Jan 22, 2009

    Good luck NavyVet!! It is sad when a small business can't get help from anywhere or from anyone. I will soon be following you!

  • Navy Vet Jan 21, 2009

    We closed our 10 year old business as well. We didnt own any Senators and we were too small to be worth helping. We have lost everything, house etc.... We will start over in Texas. At least that state doesnt rob you while you rtrying to create jobs. Bye!

  • news4u Jan 21, 2009

    Loved Rowe's back in the 70's.

  • Tin Nutt Jan 21, 2009

    Sad sign of the times - owners losing their businesses and their employees losing their jobs. For many of us in Cary that ride bikes, the Spin Cycle will definitely be missed!