There is something to be said for longevity in any industry, but it’s especially impressive in the unforgiving world of small business.
Anyone who has ever attempted to open and then run a business knows the ups and downs of the endeavor, where both internal and external forces seem to constantly put the future in peril. But sometimes, a business, either buoyed by a product, an owner, or a family, becomes more than just four walls and a service desk. It becomes a part of the community.
Paul’s Fine Clothing, Inc. will close its doors for the final time in the coming weeks, marking an end of 40 years in business in Cheshire. It will bring to a close an impressive run of success, one that has seen Paul’s outfitting generations of Cheshire residents in new suits and top-end clothing items.
Over the last several months, there’s been a lot of focus on what’s been lost. The pandemic has put more than just health at risk, it’s put people’s financial well-being and mental state in a period of flux. Many who began 2020 pondering ways to expand their businesses or become entrepreneurs begin 2021 wondering how exactly they are going to hang on as COVID-19 continues to rear its head.
But Paul’s can and should serve as a beacon for all those struggling. Over 40 years, any business is going to experience ups and downs. They will have to fight through market changes, recessions, alterations in the habits of consumers, and a myriad of other challenges. Paul’s navigated all of them and found a way to thrive.
The business did so by not just providing a product. It also offered a place where people could rely on quality customer service and a sense that their business was valued. Paul’s made sure that everyone who walked through the doors knew their patronage was important.
While one longtime business may be closing, more new businesses are on the way. As The Herald reports this week, several new establishments are eyeing openings in the coming months, providing Cheshire residents with further options to meet everything from their coffee to craft beer needs. As Economic Development Coordinator Jerry Sitko stated, it certainly appears that the business community views Cheshire as a good bet during a time of extraordinary upheaval.
This is good news, especially as the community is considers exactly how to move forward with its budget in the coming fiscal year. Obviously, there will be significant pressures to keep spending at a minimum, given how volatile the world remains. While Cheshire appears to be in a good place at the moment, and perhaps in a better place than most, it still cannot assume the status quo.
But starting off the new year with news of openings rather than closures points to a more positive future. The fact that the town may experience growth at a time when so many other places are desperately focused on mitigating their decline should be cause for celebration.
And for those new businesses who have already opened their doors or plan to in the coming months, they would be well-served looking to Paul’s as an example of what to do.
There are any number of places where people can find products of all sorts these days. But what can’t be purchased over the phone or computer is that personal touch — the kind of customer service that can’t be provided by a few clicks of a mouse.
Paul’s thrived for 40 years. Hopefully, the businesses opening in Cheshire can learn from such success and match that impressive run of stability.